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HomeFact checkNewsOld Image Of Sikh Activist Holding “We want Khalistan” Placard Goes Viral...

Old Image Of Sikh Activist Holding “We want Khalistan” Placard Goes Viral With Farmers’ Protest Claims

Amid ongoing farmers’ protests in Delhi, related misinformation has escalated. In yet another instance, social media users have fallen prey to a 2013 image of Sikh activists holding a placard which reads, “We want Khalistan.”

On 1 December, a user tweeted this image with the caption, “इनका आंदोलन किसान आंदोलन नही है, इनका मकसद खालिस्तान बनाना। इसके पीछे कहीं न कहीं काँग्रेस और आपिया -गिरगिट है।”

When translated it reads, “Their movement is not the peasant movement, their aim is to make Khalistan. There is Congress and Apia-Girgit somewhere behind it.”

Other social media users have shared similar claims. 

https://twitter.com/indiaAnkita/status/1333422056143130625?s=20
https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=1120211968410319&id=100012645795381

Fact Check/ Verification 

We began with a relevant keyword search “We want Khalistan image” on Google. Under the images option, we came across a 2019 article by The Express Tribune titled, “Why Pakistan made a blunder by blindly surrendering to India’s Khalistan movement.” 

The viral image from the claim was included in this article and credited to AFP. 

2019 The Express Tribune article on "Why Pakistan made a blunder..."
2019 The Express Tribune article on “Why Pakistan made a blunder…”

Taking cue from this article, we then searched with the photo credit on Google. 

Google search result of "Sikh organisations hold placards in support of Khalistan. Photo: AFP"
Google search result of “Sikh organisations hold placards in support of Khalistan. Photo: AFP”

This led us to a Getty Images link of the photograph in context. Created on 6 June 2013, the photograph is credited to Narinder Nanu and sourced to AFP. The image shows activists from Sikh organisations holding placards in support of Sikh leader Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and Khalistan at the Golden Temple in Amritsar on 6 June 2013. 

The photograph’s caption on Getty Images reads, “Activists from various radical Sikh organisations hold placards in support of Sikh leader Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and Khalistan, the name given for the envisioned independent Sikh state, after prayers at Sri Akal Takht at the Golden Temple in Amritsar on June 6, 2013, on the occasion of ‘Ghallughara Diwas’ the 29th Anniversary of Operation Bluestar. The gathering marked the 29th anniversary of Operation Bluestar, the assault on the Golden Temple complex by the Indian army in 1984 to arrest Sikh leader Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and his militant followers who had initiated a movement for a separate Sikh state, a move linked to the eventual assasination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.”

This is the same image circulating with claims related to the ongoing farmers’ protest. Therefore, it’s clear that the image is being used out of context in the initial claims linked. 

Another photograph clicked by Narinder Nanu on 6 June 2013 at the Golden Temple can be viewed here

NewsChecker has also debunked various claims related to the ongoing farmers’ protests. You can read them here and here

Conclusion 

Evidently, the image in context is not associated with the ongoing farmers’ protests. The photograph of Sikh activists holding a placard which reads, “We want Khalistan,” is from June 2013 at the Golden Temple, Amritsar. It was clicked on the occasion of “Ghallughara Diwas” the 29th Anniversary of Operation Bluestar. 

Result: Misplaced Context

Our Sources

The Express Tribune: https://tribune.com.pk/article/81537/why-pakistan-made-a-blunder-by-blindly-surrendering-to-indias-khalistan-movement

AFP via Getty Images: https://www.gettyimages.in/detail/news-photo/activists-from-various-radical-sikh-organisations-hold-news-photo/170021458

AFP via Getty Images: https://www.gettyimages.in/detail/news-photo/activists-from-a-radical-sikh-organisation-hold-placards-in-news-photo/170021479


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Nikita Vashisth
Nikita Vashisth
Nikita is a writer and editor for English fact-checking. She also leads projects to understand the misinformation and fake-news ecosystem—with an emphasis on data and psychology. Previously, she has worked with IndiaSpend, CNN-News18 and written for Citizen Matters and Mongabay-India on the environment, health, and politics. She’s a postgraduate of the Computational Journalism program at Cardiff University, Wales.

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