Amidst the ongoing farmers' protests in the country, a lot of fake news is making rounds on social media. A photograph has gone viral which shows a man in civilian clothes donning protective gear worn by law enforcement agencies over civilian clothes. The photo is being shared with the claim that the man is affiliated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and was involved in the attack on farmers at the Singhu border.
The photo was recently shared with the caption, "Farmer Protest: ਜੀਨਾਂ ਪੈਂਟਾਂ ਵਾਲੀ ਪੁਲਿਸ ਨਵੀ ਵਰਦੀ ਇਹ ਕਿਹੜੀ ਸਟੇਟ ਦੀ ਪੁਲਿਸ ਆ ? ਸੇਅਰ ਕਰ ਵਰਦੀ ਪ੍ਰਮੋਟ ਕਰੋ" (Which translates in English as, "Farmer Protest: Police with jeans pants in a new uniform, which state police is this? Promote the uniform by sharing"). The post has been archived here.
Punjabi artist Chamkaur Khattra also shared the photo from where it got over 1,000 times shared. The archived post can be seen here.
The post is viral on Twitter with the same caption.
This same photograph also went viral during the anti-CAA protests in December 2019. Then, it was alleged that the said person is a member of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) and was dressed as a police personnel during the protests leading up to a clash between Delhi Police and students of Jamia University.
The person seen in the photograph wearing police protective gear over civilian clothes is affiliated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and was involved in the attack on farmers at the Singhu border.
One person seen in the photograph is Delhi Police constable Arvind Kumar and not a civilian posing as a policeman. Kumar works for the Anti Auto Theft Squad (AATS), South Delhi.
The same photograph went viral in 2019 with false claims of the person being Bharat Sharma, a member of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) and his name. However, these allegations were not true. This was confirmed by several media outlets sourcing Delhi police's clarification that the man in the red t-shirt is police personnel. The Print quoted DCP (Central) M S Randhawa, "He is not Bharat Sharma. This is another lie that is being spread on social media to tarnish the image of Delhi police. He is, in fact, a constable with the AATS in South district who was also deployed on the law and order duty in the area".
The Quint had also mentioned that the police personnel's name is Arvind Kumar and he is with the Anti Auto Theft Squad (ATTS), South Delhi police. He was called in on short notice which explains he being in the civilian clothes.
Bharat Sharma, an ABVP member and a law student of Delhi University, involved in the viral news cleared the air in 2019 and said that he is not the man seen in the viral photo. He further tweeted, "I have been subjected to severe mental harassment since yesterday. I will file a defamation suit against all those who have peddled this lie that I was involved in rioting disguising as a police personnel, thus defaming my organisation and me. @ABVPVoice"
Alt news accessed a photo of Kumar to verify if the person in the picture is indeed Kumar unlike falsely claimed by the viral posts. The comparison verifies it to be the same person.
Therefore, the photograph shows a constable working with the Delhi police and claim of him being a common citizen impersonating a cop during violence in farmers' protest is false.
The claim made in 2019 with the same photograph saying that he is an ABVP worker Bharat Sharma who joined the police at Jamia Nagar and charged at students during 2019 anti-CAA protests is also false.