A video, purportedly showing a vehicle rally of Sikh protesters warning people against voting for AAP, is doing the rounds of social media. Several users, including public interest lawyer Prashant Bhushan, have shared the video, claiming “The Sikhs of Gujarat are forewarning the people there about being cheated by AAP in Punjab & that they should not fall in their trap”. The much-anticipated Gujarat state assembly elections will reportedly be held in two phases on December 1 and 5, with the counting to be on December 8. The Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP, which enjoyed a comprehensive win in Punjab earlier this year, is pushing hard to emerge as a key player in Gujarat, where BJP has been ruling the state for nearly 25 years.
Newschecker first ran a keyword search for “AAP Sikh Protest Gujarat”, which did not throw up any relevant reports of such an incident. We then went through the video, and noticed a vehicle’s licence plate reading “PB”, which we learnt was of Punjab’s and not Gujarat, raising doubts about the video.
Towards the end of the video, we came across what appears to be a sit-in protest outside a school. A closer look at the banner revealed the place’s name as Khairampur.
We learnt that Khairampur is a village in Adampur tehsil in Hisar district, Haryana. Adampur was recently in the news after the results of a bypoll were announced on November 6, after voting was held on November 3. The bypoll was necessitated after Kuldeep Bishnoi resigned from Vidhan Sabha’s membership. Bishnoi, a two-time MP and four-time MLA, had quit Congress and joined the BJP in August. His son and BJP candidate, Bhavya, won the election.
Taking a cue from this, we ran a keyword search for “Khairampur school protest”. This led us to a Hindi news report from Amar Ujala, which stated that the Congress candidate for the bypoll, Jaiprakash, had joined an ongoing dharna outside the Government Girls’ Primary School, regarding the shortage of teachers in Khairampur.
A comparison of the poster in the screengrab and the photo in the news report confirms that the viral video is from Khairampur.
Now, we ran a keyword search for “Adampur protest AAP”, which brought us to this news report from IBN24 News Network, dated November 1, 2022. According to the news report, a group of ex-servicemen from Punjab have been protesting against AAP in Khairampur, Adampur, saying vote for anyone, except AAP, as they had been betrayed by the party in their state after voting for them.
From this news video and relevant reports, including Hindustan Times, The Tribune, we learnt that a large number of ex-servicemen employed by the previous Congress regime in Punjab as Guardians of Governance (GoG) have been protesting against the AAP government’s decision in September to scrap their services. “On September 9, the Cabinet had decided to end the GoG scheme, which affected 4,300 ex-servicemen. It was alleged that there was no work for the GoGs and they were reportedly indulging in politics,” a report in the Tribune, dated September 22, read. “Every jawan was getting a monthly stipend of Rs11,000, a supervisor Rs13,000 and a tehsil head Rs25,000. The district heads were being paid Rs50,000 per month,” the report further read.
According to a photo in the Hindustan Times report, dated September 13, a large number of ex-servicemen marched with black stripes on their red turbans to mark their protest in Ferozepur, Punjab, over the scrapping of the GoG scheme, a flagship programme of previous Captain Amarinder Singh government to hire ex-servicemen to monitor government programmes.
In the viral video, you can see that the protesters had the same turbans, proving that the viral video was of ex-servicemen from Punjab urging voters in Adampur to not vote for AAP during the recent bypoll.
We then came across this Facebook video, dated November 1, showing a vehicle rally held by ex-servicemen from Punjab, raising slogans against AAP and urging voters to boycott them, similar to the viral video.
A screengrab taken at the 2:53 mark showed the sit-in dharna being held outside the Khairampur school, further confirming that the viral video was of a protest against AAP in Haryana.
A video of a campaign by ex-servicemen from Punjab, urging citizens to not vote for AAP ahead of the recently held bypoll in Adampur, Haryana, is being falsely claimed to be for the upcoming Gujarat polls.
(inputs from Shaminder Singh)
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