A disturbing picturing showing stitches on the skull of a man is viral on social media with captions falsely claiming that it shows one of the farmers injured during a lathicharge by Haryana police on August 28.
BOOM found that the viral picture is that of a youth belonging to a cow vigilante group from Haryana and has no connection with Haryana police' lathi-charge on protesting farmers in Karnal on August 28, 2021.
On August 28, Haryana police had reportedly lathi charged a group of farmers who were protesting against the three contentious farm laws near Karnal. According to a Hindustan Times report, members of different farm unions had assembled at the Bastara toll plaza on National Highway 44 ahead of Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar's state Bharatiya Janata Party meeting. The report further stated that Section 144 of CrPC, which bans the gathering of five or more people, was imposed in the area.
A Tribune report stated that around 10 farmers were injured after the police reportedly resorted to lathi charge to disperse the agitating farmers.
The image of the injured youth is viral in this backdrop.
Congress leader Imran Pratapgarhi shared the image from his official Twitter handle with a Hindi caption translating to 'This is the head of a farmer of this country and the reason for the stitches on this wounded head is the lathis of Narendra Modi ji'.
(Hindi: ये सर देश के एक किसान का है और इस फटे सर पर लगे टॉंकों की वजह नरेंद्र मोदी जी की लाठियॉं हैं)
BOOM has used a screenshot of Imran Pratapgarhi's tweet and blurred the image owing to its disturbing nature.
Imran however deleted the tweet later.
BOOM found a reply to Imran Pratapgarhi's deleted tweet which mentioned that the image of the injured person was from another incident that took place at a village in Gurugram, Haryana.
According to the tweet, the viral picture is that of a cow vigilante belonging to Bajrang Dal, the youth wing of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP). He was reportedly injured along with four others while chasing a vehicle of cow smugglers.
Taking cue from the tweet, BOOM did a keyword search and found news reports from August 25 which mention that the incident took place in Ullawas village of Gurugram on August 25.
According to a report published in Tribune on August 25, 5 'gau rakshaks' were injured when their car overturned while they were chasing the vehicle of cow smugglers. The report mentions that the smugglers threw a cow from their pickup van in front of the vehicle of the 'gau rakshaks'.
BOOM did another keyword search on Facebook and found several posts on cow vigilante pages sharing details about the August 25 incident. We also found a post on Facebook page Gauputr Bamlehari sharing the viral image.
Taking cue from this post, BOOM reached out to Sonu, head of Manesar Bajrang Dal unit.
Speaking to BOOM, Sonu said that the viral image is from the August 25 incident. He identified the person seen in the image as Tinku, one of the cow vigilantes. Sonu added, "Tinku and four others from our team were injured when cow smugglers threw a cow in front of our car while we were giving them a chase."
Sonu also said that the viral image was clicked by him on the night of August 25. He shared with us other images of Tinku including file details of the viral image and the FIR copy of the incident.
BOOM also spoke to Tinku, who is seen in the viral image. He confirmed to us that he suffered a head injury on August 25. Tinku added that he will file a complaint against those who have used his image with false claims.