On December 30, The Indian Express reported that power supply to roughly 1,800 out of 9,000 Jio towers had been either cut off or disconnected by protesting farmers.
In the backdrop of this, a collage of eight images of men censoring Hindi and English text from traffic signs is being widely shared on the internet. As per the social media claim, this was done by protestors of the farm bills. The viral text in Hindi stated that protestors “don’t want development, they want destruction” and “they don’t want freedom but anarchy” along with #Fake_Kisan_Movement.
(Viral Hindi text: “#रिलायंस जियो के टॉवर तोड़ने के बाद अब अगला काम #हिंदी_नही_चलेगी क्या ये #किसान है ? ये समाधान नहीं #व्यवधान चाहते हैं ये शांति नहीं #संघर्ष चाहते है ये #विकास नहीं, विनाश चाहते हैं ये स्वतंत्रता नहीं, स्वछंदता चाहते हैं ये सड़क नहीं, स्पीड ब्रेकर चाहते हैं। #फर्जी_किसान_आन्दोलन”)
On January 9, BJP member Jawahar Yadav posted the images on Twitter.
Facebook user Krishna Kant Singh posted the images on Facebook pages ‘I SUPPORT NARENDRA MODI JI‘ and ‘Pushpendra kulshrestha Fan club‘. Similarly, Facebook page Ambedkar and Politics also shared the pictures.
Alt News performed a reverse image search on Google and found that the viral images are not recent. They are from 2017.
Image verification 1: The set of four images in the collage and the image on the bottom left were posted on a blog in October 2017. As per the blog, the images are from Punjab. Two images from this set were also posted on Punjabi Khurki.
Image verification 2: The image on the top right was published by Hindustan Times in October 2017. As per the article, the traffic signs were vandalised by Dal Khalsa, Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), Bharatiya Kisan Union (Krantikari), Malwa Youth Federation and other organisations after they alleged that the Punjabi language was “disrespected” by placing in at the bottom on traffic signboards.
Image verification 3: The second image in the bottom row was published by Hindustan Times in October 2017. “The recent protests by some organisations over relegating Punjabi to number three on signboards, behind Hindi and English, have made the state government act promptly,” reads its caption.
Therefore, the images pertain to protests by Dal Khalsa, Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), Bharatiya Kisan Union (Krantikari), Malwa Youth Federation and other organisations in 2017 against the alleged “disrespect” shown to Punjabi by bringing it to the bottom on signboards.
In October 2017, Times of India reported, “More than six years after issuing directions for having signages in Punjab language along with English and Hindi, the UT administration has started putting up signs in Gurumukhi.”
This post was originally published on Radio Free.