A disturbing image showing a protesting farmer who was recently injured during a police crackdown in Karnal, Haryana, has been misidentified as deceased Sushil Kajal who succumbed to a cardiac arrest reportedly after the protests.
BOOM found that the image viral as deceased Sushil Kajal is of Mahendra Singh, who was severely injured after reported lathicharge by the police on protesting farmers. The image shows Singh bleeding from his head and left eye.
The Haryana state police drew severe criticism for lathi-charging farmers protesting at the Bastara Toll Plaza on the national highway on August 28, 2021. The farmers were demonstrating against a BJP meeting chaired by Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on the upcoming panchayat polls, reported The Indian Express, when police used force to break the stir.
The official Twitter handle of All India Students Association (AISA) shared the photograph of Mahendra Singh and misidentified him as Sushil Kajal. The photo has been captioned as, "Sushil Kajal, a protesting farmer injured in brutal lathi-charge yesterday, died of heart attack! Shame on BJP led Haryana Police attacking peaceful protestors!"
The photo is shared on Facebook with a similar caption.
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The photograph has been used with the same caption in Bangla.
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BOOM did a keyword search related to farmer Sushil Kajal's death and found The Quint's news report published on August 31, 2021. The article reported about Kajal's death following a cardiac arrest and published an undated image of a person identified as Kajal. Kajal had suffered a cardiac arrest after being lathi-charged by the Haryana Police, alleged the protesters.
Additionally, BOOM reached out to Jagdeep Singh Aulakh of Bharatiya Kisan Union, who identified the man in the image of the Quint article as Kajal and also stated that he died after a cardiac arrest.
Who is Sushil Kajal?
According to news reports, Sushil Kajal owned 1.5 acres of land at Raipur Jattan village in Karnal. Senior BKU leader Gurnam Singh Chaduni stated in a tweet on August 29, 2021, that the deceased was participating in the farmers' agitation against the contentious farm laws for the past nine months.
As per farmer leaders, Kajal received several blows during the clashes and suffered a cardiac arrest from the shock at his residence. Haryana Police, however, denied the death of Kajal due to injuries inflicted by the police.
Man in the viral picture
Bharatiya Kissan Union's Karnal district president Jagdeep Singh Aulakh identified the person in the viral photograph as Mahendra Singh, a resident of Barota village in Karnal. Aulakh further told BOOM that Singh was injured in the protests and is alive.
BOOM reached out to Mahendra Singh, who said, "I have some injuries but I'm doing fine."
Singh also shared a video stating his physical condition to BOOM. The video message can be seen below. He can be heard saying "I, Mahendra Singh, am doing fine now. I have suffered some injuries."
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