Fact Check: Old and unrelated photos, videos resurface amid farmers’ protest 2024

Social media soon became populated with fake and misleading stories about the farmers protest.
(Social media screenshot)
(Social media screenshot)

Two years after withdrawing their protest, on February 13, the farmers of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh began their march to Delhi to make the Central government concede to their demands of a legal guarantee of MSP, farm loan waiver and so on. The Delhi police blocked the farmers from entering the nation’s capital by ramping up security measures, putting up barricades and using tear gas.

Social media soon became populated with fake and misleading stories about the protest. Here are some of the claims debunked by SouthCheck.

Claim 1

A post on X featuring two images, one depicting men in turbans sitting on and around a jeep with a Mercedes insignia and the other showcasing a heavily crowded platform at a railway station, has gone viral. The post's caption implies that the farmers in the first image, protesting for a legal guarantee for the minimum support price on all crops, are wealthier than many other Indians, given that the Mercedes Benz G-Class featured is considered too costly for a poor farmer.

Fact Check

SouthCheck found that the claim was misleading.

On doing a Google Reverse Image Search, we found the same image uploaded on December 23, 2020, at the height of the farmers’ protest then. In the post, the user shared the price of the Mercedes Benz G-Class as Rs 1.55 crores - Rs 2.31 crores.

Kanchan Gupta, senior adviser, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, also tweeted the image on December 23, 2020, with the caption suggesting that the farmers in the protest are rich. We also found the image uploaded by an Instagram user on December 19, 2020.

At the time, the viral claim about the price of the SUV Gurkha by Force Motors Limited was debunked. An Instagram user whose account is now private had that time shared another image of the same vehicle, on which the number plate was visible. Fact-checkers verified the registration of the car and found that it was an SUV Gurkha by Force Motors Limited, registered on February 13, 2020. 

The actual price range of the vehicle is stated to be Rs 9.75 lakhs to Rs 13.3 lakhs. However, the current price of the car is around Rs 15 lakh.

Claim 2

A video of people breaking through a police barricade with a tractor has gone viral with the claim that it shows the ongoing farmers’ protest in Delhi.

A social media user shared the video with a caption, “This is the situation of police barricades built to stop farmers #FarmersProtest.”

Fact Check

On doing a Google Reverse Image Search, we found a similar video on YouTube published on February 3, 2024, with the caption that the video shows farmers’ protesting in Bhana Sindhu's support in Punjab.

On comparing the viral clip with this video, we found that the trucks in both videos were the same. The truck was blue, and even the patterns on the truck were the same. People sitting on the tuck in both the videos were also wearing identical clothes. 

According to The Hindustan Times, supporters of YouTuber Kaka Singh Sidhu, alias Bhana Sidhu, blocked the Bathinda-Chandigarh border for hours in Sangrur after police arrested him over an alleged extortion case on January 21.

While we could not ascertain that the viral video is associated with Bhana Sidhu’s arrest, we could confirm that the video is old and not associated with the recent farmers’ protest.

Claim 3

An image of police barricades and rows of what looks like law enforcement officials has gone viral on social media with the claim that it shows police blocking roads amid the ongoing farmers’ protest.

A social media user shared the image with a caption, “They are not enemies of the country, they are the children of mother India, they are looking for their rights, for them I-you are getting two meals. The BJP govt is doing this inhuman treatment to the farmers today, the people of the country will answer you. #FarmersProtest2024. (sic)”

Fact Check

On doing a Google Reverse Image search, we found the same image was uploaded by Outlook on February 5, 2021. The article associated with the image stated that the farmers were camping at the Singhu, Ghazipur, and Tikri borders around Delhi to protest against the controversial farm laws. They later announced a mega rally when the government ignored their demands of repealing farm laws during the budget.

India Today had also uploaded the image with a caption, “Barricades set up at Ghazipur border.” The image was shared on February, 3, 2021.

Hence, we can ascertain that the viral image is old and not associated with ongoing farmers’ protest.

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