BJP Uses Protester's Old Photo In Graphic Promoting Farm Laws
Harpreet Singh alias Harp Farmer said he plans legal action against BJP Punjab for using his photo to claim farmers support.
Harp Farmer aka Harpreet Singh, a Punjabi visual artist, took to Twitter to call out Bharatiya Janata Party's social media handles for using his photo in a pro-farmer laws graphic claiming that he is currently participating in the Delhi protests and that his image was used without consent.
BOOM spoke to Harpreet Singh who goes by Harp Farmer on Twitter, who said that he is currently at Singhu border protesting with the farmers, adding that he planned to issue a legal notice to BJP's Punjab wing, for using his photograph to support a graphic about the benefits of the farm laws.
BJP Punjab's Facebook page on Monday, posted a graphic, claiming to show Prime Minister Narendra Modi's efforts in supporting farmers on the procurement of Minimum Support Price (MSP). The graphic used a photo of a Sikh farmer, smiling, aiming to show that farmers in Punjab are happy happy with the central government's policies.
The graphic comes when thousands of farmers, many of them from Punjab, have camped at several borders leading into Delhi, protesting against three farm bills introduced by the central government. The farmers have faced police violence, water cannons and barricades and are camping in the harsh Delhi winters, with several meetings held with agriculture minister Narendra Tomar, turning futile.
On December 22, Singh called BJP shameless for using his photo to show that farmers are supporting Modi when he is in reality protesting at Singhu border with other farmers.
Singh (36) took to Twitter calling out the post stating that he is protesting at the Singhu border saying, "Someone tell them this person is sitting at Singhu." when translated from Punjabi and attacked the BJP saying, "shamelessness of the BJP is like unlimited internet offered by JIO."
Singh hails from Hoshiapur, Punjab and is an actor, director and producer and photographer and is currently at the Singhu Border participating in the protests against the farm laws.
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Will send them a legal notice: Harpreet Singh AKA Harp Farmer
BOOM reached out to Harpreet Singh who told us that he did not approve of his photo being used by BJP Punjab in support of the farm laws considering he is protesting against the very laws.
Singh who is an actor and filmmaker explained the photo is from 2014, which he posted on his Facebook page in 2015. "The photo was part of an abstract art photoshoot for a designer friend of mine. I posted the same on my Facebook account in 2015 and BJP has picked it up from there,"he said.
A popular social media figure, under his verified handle name- Harp Farmer, Singh has over 9000 followers on his Twitter account and nearly 4 lakh fifty thousand followers on Facebook. Interestingly, the photo used by BJP Punjab, where Singh is posing with a shovel is also widely featured on many social media sites including Pinterest, in the fashion and styling categories.
Singh who also calls himself a farmer, explained that the photo has been misused earlier too, with local Punjab based companies using it for promotion and advertising. "Earlier, a pump company in Jalandhar used this photo without asking me but I never said anything. But here, they are using this photo to try and potray that the farmers are happy (with the laws), which is wrong," said Singh. "They (BJP Punjab) have used my photo without asking me and are defaming the farmers..." said Singh adding that he is actually at the protest site at Singhu border for the last two weeks.
Contemplating legal action against BJP Punjab, Singh said, "I will be sending them a legal notice in the coming days for using my photo in a wrong way," he added. He also denied that it he had sold the photo on any photo stock website saying, "I dont sell anything to stock photo sites."
Several social media users took to Twitter questioning why the BJP had used a photo of a person who is against the farm laws to advocate for the bills.
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