Farmers scuffle with police during a rally as they continue to protest against the central government's recent agricultural reforms in New Delhi on January 26, 2021. (AFP / Sajjad Hussain)

Video shared alongside misleading claim about mass police resignations at Indian farmers' protest

Copyright AFP 2017-2021. All rights reserved.

A video of police officers chanting slogans at a farmers' protest in India has been viewed tens of thousands of times on Facebook and Twitter alongside a claim that it shows a "revolt" in the Delhi Police force, resulting in the resignations of 200 police officers. The video has been shared in a misleading context: the clip has circulated in reports about police officers praising soldiers and farmers in a bid to calm an Indian farmers' protest in Delhi. The claim that 200 police officers resigned from Delhi police in January 2021 is a "false rumour", according to the Cyber Crime unit of the Delhi Police.

The 30-second video was published here in a Facebook post on January 29, 2021.

 “Revolt in Delhi Police. 200 policemen became rebels, tendered mass resignation. Hail the soldier, Hail the farmer. #i_support_rakesh_tikait_challenge,” reads the post’s caption in Hindi.

Screenshot of misleading Facebook post

Rakesh Tikait is the leader and spokesman of the umbrella alliance of  more than 20 farmers’ groups leading the ongoing protest against new agricultural laws.

The video was shared online following clashes between police and protesting farmers in the Indian capital Delhi on January 26, 2021. AFP reported on the clashes here.

At the video's 10-second mark, a senior police officer can be heard asking the policemen to chant "Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan" ("Hail the Soldier, Hail the Farmer"). This slogan was coined by former Indian prime minister Lal Bahadur Shastri to praise the contribution of soldiers and farmers in nation building, as reported here by the BBC.

At the clip's 22-second mark, a male voice can be heard saying in Hindi that the policemen are scared.

The video was also shared alongside a similar claim on Facebook here, here, here; and on Twitter here, here and here.

The video, however, has been shared in a misleading context.

A reverse image search on Google found a longer version of the footage published by Bombay-based English-language daily newspaper Times of India in an article on January 27, 2021. It reports that Delhi Police officers chanted a slogan in a bid “to urge farmers to get back on the designated route”.

Screenshot of video published alongside the Times of India report

The report features a 46-second video.

“Request them politely otherwise they [protesters] will run over us,” a senior police official can be heard saying to other police officers between the 15 and 22 second mark of the clip.

Indian state-run broadcaster Prasar Bharti also tweeted the video alongside a similar description. The tweet similarly states the clip shows the the Joint Commissioner of Delhi Police urging his colleagues to keep the protesters calm.

“Joint Commissioner asked Delhi Police to remain calm and peaceful while trying to ease the situation on Republic Day, chanted 'Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan,” the tweet reads.

Thousands of farmers congregated in Delhi on January 26, 2021 driving tractors from border camps where they have been holding sit-ins since November, AFP reported. The rally turned violent, leaving one person dead and hundreds of police injured. Prime Minister Narendra Modi lambasted the assault and pledged to push on with new deregulation laws.

The Indian government’s Press Information Bureau (PIB) refuted the claim that 200 Delhi Police personnel resigned during the protest.

“There has been a claim on social media that 200 Delhi Police personnel have tendered mass resignation. #PIBFactCheck: This is a fake claim,” it tweeted on January 30, 2021.

The Cyber Crime unit of the Delhi Police also said to have arrested a person for spreading “fake news about resignation of police personnel” and “propagating false rumours regarding disaffection in police ranks” in a tweet on February 1, 2021.

 

Indian farmers protests