An image of members of Bharti Kisan Union (BKU) posing with Shaheen Bagh protesters in February this year is viral with netizens misidentifying one of the woman in the photograph as Rajkumari Bansal, a doctor from Jabalpur who was given the infamous moniker 'Hathras Bhabhi' or 'Naxal Bhabhi'.
The narratives further state that Bansal, whose presence at the house of a victim of alleged gangrape and murder in Hathras (Uttar Pradesh) had stirred up a controversy in September, was seen at the ongoing farmers' protest in Delhi; and thus undermined the protests.
BOOM found that the viral image was taken in Shaheen Bagh during the four-month long anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protests. We also reached out to Bansal, who denied having attended the farmers' protest, which is on its fifth day today.
A 'Delhi Chalo' march was organised by the farmers of Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh in order to protest the Central government's contentious farm laws from November 26. For the past few days, farmers from the northern states have been marching towards the national capital to mount pressure on the government against the new agricultural laws.
The image is viral with netizens taking a dig at the protests and accusing it to be politically driven. Shefali Vaidya, who has been fact-checked earlier by BOOM for sharing misinformation, quote tweeted the photo with the caption 'Is this true'. The original tweet has been captioned in Hindi as: "Identified her? She is the Dalit bhabhi from Hathras..now she has become a farmer..."
Gaurav Tiwari, a BJP leader and district general secretary of Bhartiya Janata Yuva Morcha, Indore, also shared the image misidentifying the woman as Bansal and accusing her of being a disguise to join political protests.
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The same picture is viral on Facebook with a similar claim which translates to: "Dalit sister-in-law from Hathras has become a farmer.. Do you still not understand anything ?? #भक्तों.??" (In Hindi: "हाथरस वाली "दलित भाभी" भी किसान बनकर आई हैं.. अब भी कुछ समझे की नहीं?? #भक्तों.??") Posts can be seen below and their archived versions here and here.
We reached out to Rajkumari Bansal, who denied being present in the ongoing farmers' protest. Bansal told BOOM, "It is not me in the image. I have not gone out of Jabalpur lately." Taking cue from the flags of Bharti Kisan Union (BKU) held by the protesters in the image, BOOM reached out to Harinder Kaur Bindu, the Mahila Morcha president of BKU.
Bindu confirmed that the image is from Shaheen Bagh and taken during the anti-CAA protests when BKU members took turns to cook langar for the protesters. "The BKU members would visit Shaheen Bagh often during January and February this year to cook langar for the protesters. This is from one such visit. The elderly people are holding our flag." While Bindu was not able to identify the woman who has been misidentified as Bansal, she confirmed that it is not from the ongoing farmers protest.
We were also able to independently verify the location of the image and found that it was shot in Shaheen Bagh.
Further, taking cue from Bindu's comments, we looked up the official Facebook page of BKU-Bharti Kisan Union Ekta Ugrahan / ਭਾਰਤੀ ਕਿਸਾਂਨ ਯੁਨੀਅਨ ਏਕਤਾ ਉਗਰਾਹਾਂ and found the same image, which was uploaded on the page on February 10, 2020.
BOOM could not identify the woman in the viral photograph. However since the photograph was taken during the Shaheen Bagh protests, links of it to the farmers protest are false.
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