Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday announced the repeal of the three farm laws, in a major climbdown by the government. The surprise announcement comes after over a year of protests by thousands of farmers camped on the outskirts of Delhi.
Since November 2020, farmers from mainly Punjab and Haryana have camped at the national capital's borders and have braved harsh weather conditions and a raging pandemic, while remaining steadfast in their demand to repeal the three laws. The agitation, which drew international attention, has taken several ugly turns and claimed nearly 600 lives, according to their own estimates.
The protest has also been marred by a flurry of misinformation and disinformation from those opposing and supporting the farm laws. These includes old images and videos that have been presented out of context, claims that the protest were a ploy to sow a pro-separatist sentiment and misinformation that targetted billionaires Mukesh Ambani and Gautam Adani, who farmers claimed were the biggest beneficiaries of the new farm laws.
BOOM has debunked more than 100 such pieces of misinformation and disinformation. Below is a round-up of top 10 of our fact-checks on the protest.
A photo of an elderly woman part of a farmers' protest was viral with a false claim that she is Bilkis Bano (82) the daadi (grandmother) who was part of the Shaheen Bagh protests held in 2019, against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). The false claim was also quoted tweeted then by actress Kangana Ranaut.
BOOM had spoken to Bilkis Bano who rubbished that she is the elderly woman in the viral photo stating that she had not yet participated in the farmers' protest at that point.
An old photo of a Muslim man - Nazeer Mohammed - wearing a turban was shared linking him to the ongoing farmers protests, with the false claim that he is pretending to be a Sikh farmer. BOOM had spoken to Mohammed, a resident of Sukhgarh village in Sahibzada Ajit Singh Nagar of Mohali, Punjab who was shocked that his image and name was being used to spread disinformation.
Amit Malviya, head of Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) IT Cell on November 28, 2020, had shared a cropped clip showing a security personnel swinging a baton at an elderly Sikh farmer, to falsely claim that the man was not injured by security forces.
BOOM identified the elderly farmer as Sukhdev Singh who spoke to us and had said he sustained injuries to his forearm, back and calf muscle. Malviya's tweet was later marked as 'manipulated media' by Twitter.
An old image of the former vice president of Sikh separatists' outfit Dal Khalsa International, Manmohan Singh Khalsa, demonstrating against the Indian government in United Kingdom by disrespecting the tricolour, was being falsely shared as a photo from the farmers' protest.
BOOM found the same image has been present on the internet since 2013 and was not from the ongoing protests.
An old image of Bollywood actor Hrithik Roshan attending an event to commemorate the birth anniversary of Guru Gobind Singh in Mumbai, was being shared with a false caption claiming that the actor has extended his support to the ongoing farmers' protest.
BOOM found that the picture is from Guru Gobind Singh's birth anniversary celebration that Roshan had visited in Mumbai in 2018.
A photograph from a 2017 meet between Mukesh Ambani, chairman and managing director of Reliance Industries Ltd and then Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh had resurfaced in December 2020, with a false claim that the two met to discuss business opportunities in Punjab a day before the Bharat Bandh protest by farmers.
BOOM had found that the image circulating was from 2017 when Captain Amarinder Singh met Mukesh Ambani in Mumbai.
Posts had gone viral in December 2020 falsely claiming that businessman Gautam Adani had incorporated a number of agriculturally-oriented companies since 2019. The claim was being wrongly made based on an image, which is a snapshot showing the date from when one director - Amit Malik - was appointed to the post at these companies. It did not indicate the date of incorporation of any company.
BOOM had found that Malik's date of appointment can been corroborated using data from the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, with the data also showing that not a single one these companies had been incorporated in 2019.
Additionally, a photo falsely claiming Prime Minister Narendra Modi was bowing to Priti Adani, chairperson of the Adani Foundation was being shared also. BOOM found photo was from 2018 and shows Modi greeting a social worker, Deepika Mondol who was visiting the Rashtrapati Bhawan for an event. Read: here
An image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi walking barefoot in the premises of Gurudwara Rakab Ganj Sahib in Delhi on December 20, 2020, was viral with misleading claims that the gurudwara committee removed the carpet before the PM's visit as a mark of disrespect.
The image was viral in the backdrop of the growing dissent between the protesting farmers and the Center and was doing the rounds with a narrative that takes a dig at the Sikh community for deliberately removing the carpet before the prime minister's arrival in the gurudwara.
BOOM had found that PM Modi voluntarily walked on the floor beside the carpet on his surprise visit to the gurudwara.
Multiple social media posts falsely claiming protesting farmers removed the Indian tricolour at the Red Fort and replaced it with a flag of Khalistan, were being shared when the farmers' protest took a violent turn on January 26, 2021, Republic Day. Farmers participating in Kisan Tractor Rally had clashed with the police at multiple locations in Delhi while a large group of protesters breached a section of the iconic Red Fort.
BOOM had found that protesters had hoisted the Nishan Sahib, the Sikh religious flag and the flag of the Kisan Mazdoor Ekta, a farmers union collective on an empty flag pole and that the Indian flag elevated at the centre of the monument was untouched.
A photoshopped photo of singer Rihanna holding a Pakistani flag was shared on social media to falsely claim that the singer is anti-India after she tweeted in support of the ongoing farmers' protests in February 2021.
BOOM found that in the original photo taken at the ICC 2019 Cricket World Cup, Rihanna is holding a West Indies cricket team flag.
BOOM has debunked several pieces of misinformation since the beginning of the farmers' protest. Follow our thread below.
Do you always want to share the authentic news with your friends?