When TNM reached out to MP Arvind Dharmapuri seeking an explanation for his Facebook post, he stated that he was “simply cautioning the police and the people.”

Telangana BJP MP shares old video with communal claim to question CAA protestsImage: Facebook/Arvind Dharmapuri
news Controversy Friday, December 27, 2019 - 16:38

A BJP MP from Telangana fell prey to fake news and shared a viral video with a false claim. Amidst the protests both against and for the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), taking place across India, a video of a policeman apprehending a protestor and removing his Sikh turban is being circulated on social media with a communal claim.

On Friday, Nizamabad MP Arvind Dharmapuri shared the same viral video on Facebook from his verified account with a similar claim.

While sharing the video, the MP wrote in Telugu "Sardarji Veshamtho Mosam..Pourasatva Pradarshanala Nijaswarupam" which translates to "Cheating in the disguise of  Sardarji...the true face of citizenship demonstrations." He further wrote, "A protester using fake Sikh sardar face to show that sikh are against #CAA (sic)." 

However, in an instant edit to the post, he said "#CAA camouflage Donning a turban, a protester trying to impersonate sardar ji (sic)."

However, despite several social media users pointing out that video and the content he uploaded was fake, the MP did not delete the status, but only edited the accompanying text.

The MP later wrote in Telugu, “Gathamlo pradarshnala musugulo jarigina mosalu.. ilantivi ippudukuda enno jaruguthunnayi ..policelu , prajalu jagrattaga undali," which can be roughly translated to: "Earlier incident of cheating under the guise of demonstrations .. many such (things) are happening even now also .. police, people should be careful." 

He further added, "Camouflage of protest in the past .. A wake up call to the present" 

This edited version can be seen in the post now.

The origin of the viral video

It is being claimed on social media that the man seen in the now viral video, who is seen being taken away by the police, was a Muslim and was impersonating a member of the Sikh community to 'falsely' show that Sikhs are against Citizenship Amendment Act.

However, the video has been debunked by various fact checkers, including Alt News. According to Alt News, the video was first uploaded on YouTube on March 29, 2011 and is originally from a protest in Punjab’s Mohali held by rural veterinary pharmacists demanding regularisation of their jobs.

According to reports, it was alleged that the police had pulled aside the protester and his turban was forcibly removed without any cause. At the time, a complaint was also filed before the Mohali Judicial Magistrate against the Punjab police for doing so, and letters were written to the then Prime Minister, CJI, NHRC as well.

When TNM reached out to MP Arvind Dharmapuri seeking an explanation on leaving the post up on his Facebok profile, he did not offer further clarity, and asked this reporter to "see what is written at present and leave the past."

"I was simply cautioning the police and the people," he added.

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