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HomeFact CheckFact Check: Old Images of Kolkata Police Thrashing a Sikh Man Falsely...

Fact Check: Old Images of Kolkata Police Thrashing a Sikh Man Falsely Shared Amid The Recent ‘Khalistani’ Controversy

Authors

Pankaj Menon is a fact-checker based out of Delhi who enjoys ‘digital sleuthing’ and calling out misinformation. He has completed his MA in International Relations from Madras University and has worked with organisations like NDTV, Times Now and Deccan Chronicle online in the past.

Claim: West Bengal Police insulted a Sikh man by removing his turban and dragging him by his hair.

Fact: The images are from 2020, when during BJP’s ‘Nabanna Abhiyan’ protest, the police allegedly removed the turban of a Sikh man named Balwinder Singh. 

Amidst the uproar over BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari’s remarks on an on-duty Sikh police officer as a Khalistani sympathiser, some social media users are sharing an image showing a Sikh man being dragged away by his hair, purportedly by the West Bengal police. 

@MajorPoonia was among the many who shared the image on social media, writing, “Shameful & Unacceptable. West Bengal Police insulted our Sikh brother by removing his turban”. 

Kolkata Police Thrashing a Sikh Man Image 1

Many other users have also shared the same images with similar claims. Archive versions of such posts can be seen here, here and here.

Fact Check/ Verification

We performed a reverse image search on the viral images and found that the same images were shared by BJP leader Kailash Vijayvargiya on his official X handle on October 9, 2020. He wrote in Hindi, “Security personnel Balwinder Singh was beaten on the road by West Bengal Police and his turban was removed, he is a capable soldier! He has also done many military courses! The insult to such a brave man in Mamata’s rule is sad. Such policemen should be punished!” 


Another BJP leader Manjinder Singh Sirsa and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) President Sukhbir Singh Badal also shared the same image the same day. Condemning the incident, they alleged that a Sikh security official Balwinder Singh was attacked by West Bengal Police, his turban forcefully removed. 

Former Indian cricketer and Rajya Sabha MP Harbhajan Singh also reacted on this issue at that time.

We also found a news report published in The Indian Express on October 10, 2020. As per the report, Balwinder Singh was a security personal of BJP leader Priyanshu Pandey, who allegedly carried a loaded gun during a BJP rally to Nabanna on October 9, 2020. BJP alleged that during a scuffle Balwinder Singh’s turban was removed by Kolkata Police.

News18, Asianet News also published the reports on the same carrying the same images. 

Several Bengali News outlets like Anandabazar, ABP ANANDA also covered the incident. 

Conclusion

Thus we find that the images shared on social media, showing a Sikh man being dragged away by his hair, have no links to the ongoing controversy over ‘Khalistani’ remarks by a BJP leader in West Bengal and these images are old.

Result: False

Sources:
X post by Kailash Vijayvargiya, Manjinder Singh Sirsa, Sukhbir Singh Badal
X post by Harbhajan Singh 
News published on The Indian Express on October 10, 2020
News published News18, Asianet News
News published on Anandabazar, ABP ANANDA

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Authors

Pankaj Menon is a fact-checker based out of Delhi who enjoys ‘digital sleuthing’ and calling out misinformation. He has completed his MA in International Relations from Madras University and has worked with organisations like NDTV, Times Now and Deccan Chronicle online in the past.

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