Punjab Daily Jagbani Peddles Old Visuals Falsely Claiming "Pak Sent Muslim Disguised As Sikh"
BOOM found that the photos carried by the newspaper are from March 2011, when a Punjab police officer had forcefully removed the turban of a Sikh protester.
Punjabi daily Jagbani, a part of the Punjab Kesari Group misreported visuals from an old incident dating back to March 2011 to claim that Pakistan's spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) was sending Muslim men disguised as Sikhs to Punjab to participate in the Khalistani separatist movement.
BOOM found that the photos are from a protest in March 2011, when the Punjab police had forcibly made a Sikh remove his turban.
The report claims that this 'fake Sikh' was arrested by the police after they made him take off his turban.
These old visuals are being misreported as recent in the backdrop of the ongoing manhunt by the Punjab police to apprehend Khalistani separatist leader Amritpal Singh. Singh's supporters have been protesting around the state since the arrest of his associates and the crackdown on his organisation Waris De Punjab.
Jagbani published the news report on March 24, 2023, with the headline, "Now Pakistan is sending Muslims to Punjab by making them 'Sikhs'"
(Original text in Punjabi: "ਹੁਣ ਮੁਸਲਮਾਨਾਂ ਨੂੰ ‘ਸਿੱਖ' ਬਣਾ ਕੇ ਪੰਜਾਬ ਭੇਜ ਰਿਹਾ ਪਾਕਿ")
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A part of the report reads, "Pakistan has been trying for many years to encourage separatism in Punjab, but it has failed every time, now they has adopted a new strategy. Pakistan's infamous agency ISI is sending Muslims to Punjab to propagate the Khalistani agenda by by making him (Muslim man) wear pagdi, which is considered as a respectful symbol in Sikhism." It adds, "This screenshot of the video shows Punjab police jawans arresting the fake Sikh and one jawan taking him to the police station. It is not known that this video is from which place of Punjab."
BOOM found that the visual published in the Jagbani news report are from an incident in March 2011, when the Punjab police forcefully removed the turban of a Sikh protester.
A keyword search with "police officer removes turban" led us to a page by Sikhiwiki that carried the same photo. According to the page, the incident took place on March 28, 2011 in Mohali, Punjab.
BOOM had previously debunked the same claim when it was being shared in December 2019 falsely linking it to the anti-CAA protests in India. Read our fact-check here.
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A report by SikhNet detailed the incident further and explained how the Sikh pharmacist was part of the protest by Punjab Rural Veterinary demanding regulation in March 2011. According to The Hindu report dated March 29, 2011, the protestors were chased away by water cannons and lathis as they staged a peaceful sit-in ahead of the India v Pakistan ICC World Cup semi-final in the PCA stadium.
It was then that Sub-Inspector Kulbhushan made the man remove his turban forcefully as seen in the visuals. SI Kulbhushan later claimed that he was acting on orders from the Mohali Superintendent of Police (SP)- Pritam Singh and following a complaint by the United Sikhs organisation, both the police officers were suspended.
A video of the incident was uploaded on March 30, 2011 by a YouTube channel. The same visuals published in the news report can be seen below:
BOOM did not find any credible news report on Punjab Police arresting a Pakistani man disguised as Sikh. We have reached out to Punjab Police for a response, the article will be updated upon receiving one.
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