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Old video of Indian woman screaming at protesters falsely linked to February 2024 sit-in

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A video of a woman venting her frustration at protesters who staged a sit-in on a highway in northern India in 2022 has resurfaced with a false claim it was taken during the latest farmers’ protests in February 2024. The sit-in organiser has told AFP the 2022 protest in the Punjab state originated from a dispute between a petrol station and coach companies accused of failing to settle their monthly bills. A local police official has also confirmed the video shows an old protest in the state.

“The Punjab public is fed up with daily blockades. An elderly lady from Punjab breaks down. ‘Your Demand never ends. You want everything for free. The central government is giving you so much for free, yet you are harassing the public and blocking the roads’. #FarmerProtest2024,” reads the caption of a post shared here on X on February 13, 2024.

The 59-second video, which has been reposted over 300 times, shows an elderly woman yelling at a group of protesters sitting in the middle of a road blocking traffic.

Speaking in the Punjabi language, the woman says: “Your demands never end. The government is giving so much for free, even your loans have been waived, yet you sit on the road in traffic jams. After all, what is our fault in this?”

<span>Screenshot of false X post taken on February 15, 2024</span>

Screenshot of false X post taken on February 15, 2024

The false video surfaced when protesting farmers heading to the Indian capital city New Delhi in February 2024 have been stalled halfway by a fortress-like wall of concrete.

Police have ringed the city on three sides, blocking highways with metal spikes, blocks and steel barricades, raking the crowds with water cannons and dropping tear gas from overhead by drone.

Many of the farmers — determined to bring their anger and woes to politicians — have driven on slow-moving tractors across the Punjab state to demand guaranteed crop prices.

The current protests follow the 2021 farmers’ demonstrations, which ended after the Indian government agreed to repeal controversial farm laws that sought to deregulate agricultural markets.

The farm union leaders say they took to the streets again as the government has not done enough since the last protest to alleviate their hardships.

The video was shared with similar claims elsewhere on Facebook here and here, and on X here.

Billing dispute

Aashu Gupta, manager of the petrol station who organised the protest — Saket Filling Station — confirmed to AFP the video shows a sit-in in 2022 over a dispute between his petrol station and local transport companies and is not related to the farmers’ protest. 

“Many trucks of a transport service operator used to be fuelled at our petrol station and payment was made at the end of every month. However, they have not paid us for three to four months in a row, so one day we stopped one of their trucks,” Gupta told AFP on February 15, 2024. “This escalated the dispute as the transport service operators lodged a police complaint against us. So we staged a protest. Later, the police came and negotiated a compromise. However, the matter is still pending in court.”

He also said the woman seen in the video was travelling in a bus and “she got upset due to the road blockage and started shouting at the protesters” and that some farm union leaders had also joined the protesters in solidarity.

Sub Inspector Jaspreet Singh of Pataran Police Station also confirmed to AFP that the video shows an incident in 2022.

“This case was about a dispute between the petrol pump association and a transport service owner, in which the transport service owner have filed a report against the petrol pump. The old woman was travelling and was upset with the traffic jam due to the protest.” Singh told AFP.

Keshav Kinker Singala, owner of a coach company which has an office near the protest site in 2022 — told AFP on February 15 that the video is old and has been falsely linked to the recent farmers’ protest.  

“This claim is false. The video is from a sit-in protest organised at Saket Filling Station in Patiala district of Punjab in 2022,” Singala told AFP.

Several local media outlets — including Himachal Today, Scroll Punjab and Focus Punjab Te — also reported on the sit-in in November 2022 and uploaded videos that show the same scene (archived links here, here and here). 

Below is a screengrab comparison of the false video (left) and the clip uploaded by Scroll Punjab showing the same scene (right):

<span>Screengrab comparison of the false video (left) and the clip uploaded by Scroll Punjab showing the same scene (right).</span>

Screengrab comparison of the false video (left) and the clip uploaded by Scroll Punjab showing the same scene (right).

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