No, Protesting Farmers Are Not Blackening Hindi Signboards

Team Webqoof
·3-min read

A set of viral videos and images in which people can be seen putting black paint on signboards with Hindi letters, in Punjab, is being shared on social media in connection with the ongoing farmers’ protests.

However, we found that the video and images are old and have no connection with the current agitation.

CLAIM

The claim with which the aforementioned video and images are being shared reads: “असली चेहरा अब सामने आ गया टॉवर तोड़ने के बाद अब पंजाब में हिंदी नही चलेगी। किसान आन्दोलन बहाना है हिन्दू और हिन्दू विरोध असली मकसद है। ये खालिस्तानी आंदोलन है, किसानों के भेष में आतंकी,उनके समर्थक है।”

[Translation: The real face (of the farmers’ agitation) is now coming to the fore. After vandalising Jio towers, now Hindi is not allowed in Punjab. The farmers’ movement is just an excuse to run anti-Hindu agenda. This is a Khalistani movement. In the guise of farmers, these protesters are terrorists and their supporters.]

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An archived version of the tweet can be accessed <a href="https://archive.is/KdwPu" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:here" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">here</a>.
An archived version of the tweet can be accessed here.
An archived version of the tweet can be accessed <a href="https://archive.is/Oy8Yw" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:here" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">here</a>.
An archived version of the tweet can be accessed here.
An archived version of this post can be accessed <a href="https://archive.is/fXiRO" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:here" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">here</a>.
An archived version of this post can be accessed here.

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WHAT WE FOUND

We found that the viral images and video are from 2017 and 2020 respectively and are a part of long-standing movement against Hindi-imposition in Punjab. They have nothing to do with the ongoing agitation against the new farm laws.

SIGNBOARDS DEFACED BY ACTIVISTS IN 2017

These images were published in 2017, where activists were angry about Punjabi being at the bottom of the signboard.
These images were published in 2017, where activists were angry about Punjabi being at the bottom of the signboard.

We ran a reverse image search on the viral images and found reports from 2017 by the Times of India, Hindustan Times and The Tribune, which carried these images.

According to these reports, activists angry over Punjabi being at the bottom of signboards in Punjab — below Hindi and English — defaced these boards.

The HT report also states that the state government took notice of the act and promptly directed the PWD department to amend the signboards.

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VIDEO FROM SEPTEMBER 2020

We fragmented the viral video into multiple keyframes and followed it up with a reverse image search. This directed us to reports by a local Tamil Channel claiming that the viral video shows popular sentiment against Hindi-imposition in Punjab as part of a nationwide movement against the imposition of Hindi language.

Next, we performed a Google search using ‘Punjab against Hindi imposition’ and found the same video uploaded on Facebook in September 2020 by a page called ‘Stop Hindi Imposition’.

The Quint has not been able to independently confirm the location or identity of the person in the video.

Clearly, images and videos from unrelated events are being shared in connection with the farmers’ agitation.

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