A photo of an elderly woman part of a farmers' protest is 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).
BOOM spoke to Bano who denied that she was the woman in the photo. She added that while she plans to take part in the farmers' protest, she has not done so yet
The photo is viral as thousands of farmers are taking part in the 'Delhi Chalo' march organised by the farmers of Punjab in order to register their protest against the Centre government's Farm laws and demanding its repeal. For the past three days, farmers from Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh have been marching toward the national capital. After an intense confrontation with the police at the Haryana border of the capital and facing heavy police bracketing and tear gas shells, they were allowed to enter Delhi on November 27.
The set of two photos are being shared, first showing Bano sitting at Shaheen Bagh during the Anti-CAA protests and the second photo shows an old woman with a yellow headscarf and a stick marching during the recent farmers march to Delhi. The captions are raising aspersions on the protest by claiming Bano is now pretending to be a farmer.
The viral photo is being shared with the caption, "Dadi at Shaheen Bagh is now a Punjabi farmer."
The same photo was also quote tweeted by Bollywood actor Kangana Ranaut fasely claiming that both are the same woman. The now deleted tweet read, "Ha ha ha she is the same dadi who featured in Time magazine for being the most powerful Indian.... And she is available in 100 rupees..."
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Viral on Facebook
On searching with the viral caption, we found that the set of photos being shared with the false claim.
BOOM first contacted Bilkis Bano's son Manzoor Ahmad, who confirmed that Bano is yet to participate in the farmer's protest march and the woman in the photo is not her.
Ahmad further clarified that he had shared a photo of the old woman walking in the farmer's protest and in the caption mentioned that Bilkis dadi would also be joining the farmer's protest happening in Delhi. "The woman in the yellow scarf is not her. I had also posted the same picture of the elderly woman walking in the march on Facebook stating that Bilkis Dadi would also be joining in the farmer protests soon. It seems someone mistook it for her. I have since deleted the post," Ahmad said.
He also sent BOOM the photo he posted on Facebook to state that Bano would be joining the protest. The caption of the photo when translated reads, "Tigresses of my country, I am coming to support you. - Bilkis Dadi"
We then spoke to Bano who denied that the old woman walking in the viral photo is her and told us that she has not yet participated in the march but would be doing so soon.
"I am sitting at home, in Shaheen Bagh. I am not the one in the photo. The farmers who are protesting and the photo of the woman that is being shared is not mine. I will be joining the protest tomorrow," Bano told BOOM
We also visited Bano at her house and interviewed her for the same. Below is the video of her denying that the woman in the photo is not her.
Additionally, a reverse image search on the viral photo, we found news report with the same photo of the elderly woman. Hindi Newspaper Amar Ujala published the same photo on November 27, 2020, in an article titled 'Farmers traveled to Delhi by removing blockers' and the caption of the photo reads, "Elderly women involved in the convoy. - Photo: Sirsa".
However, we found a Facebook post on a page Mera Gaon, Mera Swabhimaan, where the same woman's picture was used a display photo dating back to October 13, 2020.
We translated the text on the flag and found that it belongs to the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta Ugrahan) and found photos where female members can be seen wearing the same yellow dupatta. See reports here
BOOM found that the elderly woman who was being misidentified as Bano is Mohinder Kaur, an octogenarian farmers' union member in her eighties who told us that the viral photo was taken almost two months ago near the Sangat Mandi Petrol Pump, in Bhatinda. Watch the full interview below.
BOOM has previously debunked misinformation around the farmer's protest when old images of water cannon used on protesting farmers were shared as recent.
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