Farmer Protest: Muslim Man’s Pic Falsely Viral as ‘Disguised Sikh’
We found that the viral photo was posted in April, much before the protests against the three farm laws started.
The photo of a man wearing a turban is being shared as a Muslim man disguised as a Sikh farmer in the ongoing farmers' Delhi Chalo march to discredit the protests.
However, we found that the viral photo was posted in April 2020, much before the protests against the three farm bills started.
One of the posts viral with the claim had a caption that read, “...और फिर Nazeer Mohd. पगड़ी पहनकर Sikh किसान बन गए। सच्चाई ये है कि ये किसान आंदोलन नही बल्कि कहीं Khal'ist'ani प्रोपगंडा तो नहीं ? ये वही लोग हैं जो CAA प्रोटेस्ट्स और Shaheen Bagh में भी शामिल थे ...”
[Translation: And then Nazeer Mohd became a Sikh farmer by wearing a turban. The truth is that this is not a farmer's movement, but Khal'ist'ani propaganda?
These are the people who were also involved in anti-CAA Protests and Shaheen Bagh.]
Similar captions were used to discredit the farmers’ protest by implying that Muslim man pretended to be a farmer.
Some members of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) also made the false claim on their social media handles. Abhimanyu Tyagi, State Secretary BJP Delhi (Youth) BJYM, said, “Nazeer Mohammad turn into Navdeep Mohanpuria”.
Shalabh Mani Tripathi, the information advisor to UP CM Yogi Adityanath, also tweeted the photo. BJP MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar retweeted Tyagi’s post.
WHAT WE FOUND
We looked for Nazeer Mohammed’s Facebook profile and found the profile. The image of Nazeer’s wearing a green turban that was used to claim that it was during the protest was there on his profile and was posted on 8 April 2020, much before the protests against the farm laws started.
Fact-checking website BOOM reached out to Nazeer Mohammed in Punjab, who is an electrician and lineman in the Punjab State Electricity Board.
Nazeer told BOOM that the selfie of him in front of the bus in his village Sukhgarh and he posted the photo in April. The photo was taken to commemorate the bus service that started through Sukhgarh for the first time.
“My photo posing in front of the bus with some other villagers was also published by a newspaper – Punjabi Tribune. I clicked the photo in January and uploaded it to Facebook on 8 April 2020. The news article carries a similar photo with all the members of the Panchayat posing in front of it and was published on 12 January 2020,” he told BOOM.
Talking about the reason for wearing a turban, he said, “The Board has made it compulsory for us to wear helmets when working but it hinders my vision. So a friend suggested wearing a turban and also gifted me one. After speaking to the elders of the village, I started wearing it and since then have worn it every day.”
Nazeer had locked his Facebook profile now and told BOOM that he has filed a complaint with the local police authorities.
A Punjabi news channel covered the incident and interviewed people in Nazeer’s village who confirmed that he was not part of the protest. Nazeer told BOOM that while he supported the farmer’s protest, he had not physically joined them.
Evidently, an old and unrelated photo was used to make a false claim that a Muslim man disguised himself as a Sikh farmer to join the ongoing farmers’ protest in Delhi.
We, at WebQoof, have debunked other false claims spread to discredit the farmers’ protest that you can find here.
(With inputs from BOOM.)
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