A video showing a group of people carrying out a rally while chanting pro-Khalistan slogans is being shared on social media with captions falsely claiming that the rally was taken out demanding Khalistan right after Aam Aadmi Party's massive victory in state assembly elections.
BOOM found that the same video had been uploaded on YouTube on February 22, 2022 - weeks before the assembly election results were announced on March 10, 2022. We also found several placards in the rally containing images of late Punjabi actor Deep Sidhu, who died on February 15, which suggests that the rally was taken out in his memory.
On March 10, as the counting for the assembly elections concluded, Aam Aadmi Party won 92 of the 117 assembly seats in Punjab in a landslide victory. AAP chief ministerial candidate Bhagwant Mann is expected to swear-in as the new chief minister of the state. The video is viral in this backdrop.
The viral video has been shared on Facebook with Hindi caption translating to 'The demand for Khalistan by Khalistanis has begun immediately after Kejruddin formed government in Punjab. These traitor Khalistan supporters support Congress, Left parties and Aam Aadmi Party'.
(Hindi: *पंजाब मे केजरुद्दीन के सरकार बनते ही खालिस्तानीओ का खेल खालिस्तान की मांग शुरू हो गया वामपंथी कांग्रेस आमदमी पार्टी के समर्थक है ये देशद्रोही खालिस्तान समर्थक)
Here, Kejruddin is a reference made to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
The video has been shared on Twitter with similar claims.
The caption with a tweet specifically linked the rally in the video to AAP's victory, and also tagged the party's official Twitter handle. The captions translates to 'Change has begun, as soon as Aam Aadmi Party came to power in Punjab'.
(Hindi: @AamAadmiParty के आते ही पंजाब में बदलाव शुरू हो गया)
BOOM received the video on its helpline number with a Hindi caption translating to 'Change has begun in Punjab'.
(Hindi: पंजाब में बदलाव शुरू हो गया)
BOOM did a keyword search with 'Punjab khalistan slogans', along with some reverse image searches with keyframes from the video, but was unable to find the viral video.
We then did a frame-by-frame analysis of the video, and spotted several placards in the rally containing the photo of late actor Deep Sidhu. We also found some placards containing the text "Justice For Deep Sidhu".
Sidhu died at 37 years of age in a road accident in Punjab on February 15, when his car rammed into a truck, after the latter allegedly stepped on the brakes suddenly while both the vehicles were moving. Following his death, several rallies were taken out in Punjab in his support.
Taking cue, we refined our search further by using keywords "khalistan slogans punjab deep sidhu", while looking for search results after February 15.
We came across the same video on YouTube uploaded on February 22, 2022. The title read, "ANTI-INDIA KHALISTAN SLOGANS IN BATHINDA CITY (PUNJAB)".
We found another YouTube video containing a screenshot from the viral clip, which contained the following caption.
"Right under the nose of the Congress government, aided by the support of local police, Khalistani sympathisers on Monday organized a rally in Punjab's Bathinda district from Shaheed Baba Ajit Singh Chowk to Gurdwara Qila Mubarak. Reportedly, the rally was orchestrated by followers of Punjabi actor Deep Sidhu, who died recently and slogans such as "Khalistan Zindabad" and "Deep Sidhu Zindabad" were raised with Police overseeing the developments.
According to news reports, posters of Khalistani terrorist Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and Deep Sidhu were also raised during the rally. Video clippings of the rally have gone viral on the realms of social media with netizens demanding the Punjab Congress government to answer why they gave their nod to the event."
The same video was uploaded on the verified Facebook page NEWJ on February 25 with a Hindi caption translating to 'A rally taken out in the memory of Lal Qila violence accused Deep Sidhu saw pro-Khalistan slogans being raised. Police remained a mute spectator'.
(Hindi: लाला किला हिंसा के आरोपी दीप सिद्धू की याद में निकाली गई रैली में लगे खालिस्तान जिंदाबाद के नारे. तमाशबीन बनी रही पुलिस)
We reached out to Bhatinda police for further confirmation, and the article will be updated upon getting a response.
BOOM could not ascertain further details about the rally in the video, but the placards seem to make it clear that the rally was taken out in the memory of Deep Sidhu. Furthermore, as the video of the rally has been on the internet since February 22, 2022, it is not linked to AAP's victory, which was announced on March 10.
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