On Friday, clashes broke out at Delhi’s Singhu border as a large mob crossed over police barricades and threw stones at farmers who have been protesting against the government’s new agriculture laws for just over two months. Several ground reports from the area show goons vandalising farmers’ tents and demanding that the area be vacated.
The violence was sparked by people claiming that protestors masquerading as farmers had insulted the Indian national flag at the Red Fort during a tractor rally on Republic Day. They asserted that protestors had replaced the tricolour with Sikh flags even though several fact-check articles had noted that this had not happened.
A plethora of media outlets covering the clashes at Singhu border has identified the mob as locals.
Most other outlets have identified the mob as people “claiming to be locals”.
Hindi media outlets have also identified them as “स्थानीय लोग” (local people).
BJP workers among the group
In a ground report by Aaj Tak, a crowd carrying Indian flags can be seen gathered at the border. The reporter says that they claim to be locals who were in support of the farmers’ protest but have decided to oppose the movement after the events of January 26.
Amidst the crowd is a man in a blue-white-green striped shirt holding the tricolour. He is in the front row of the mob facing policemen. He has been identified as Aman “Dabas” by several social media users.
Who is Aman Dabas?
Aman identifies himself as a social worker from North West Delhi. “Aman Kumar Social Worker” is the name of a Facebook page dedicated to his work. “Dabas” is a kinship group in the Jat community.
Last year, his page had uploaded pictures of him during door-to-door sanitisation in Barwala village, Pooth Khurd, Ward No 31, in New Delhi.
Recently, Aman had uploaded a picture of himself with Home Minister Amit Shah.
Details about Anju Kumar at the MyNeta site that tracks the records of political leaders states that she is a resident of Pooth Khurd, which is more than 15 km away from Singhu border. The people assembled at the border claimed that the farmers’ gathering is a hindrance to daily work since it’s causing heavy traffic in the vicinity and shop owners are unable to open stores. A village 15 km away, however, cannot be considered ‘neighbouring’ area.
Another BJP member
A man named Krishan Dabas made a Facebook post about the violence that ensued at Singhu border on Friday. Alt News was able to download the post and take a screenshot before he took it down a couple of hours later. BJP leaders Sandeep Sehrawat and Ravinder Kumar are tagged on the post. Krishan seems to be close to both of them. (1 and 2)
Krishan had uploaded a broadcast by News Nation where he identifies himself as a “local” protesting at Singhu border.
He can be heard shouting “humara border khali karo” (clear our border) with a group of people, including Aman, who is spotted at 12 seconds. On the other side of this group is a large assembly of policemen in riot gear
In another video uploaded by Krishan, Aman can be seen in the front row of the mob gathered around policemen, same as in the Aaj Tak video.
Both Krishan (1:45) and Aman (0:25) can also be spotted in the Aaj Tak video below.
Last year, Krishan had uploaded a post from BJP West Delhi Pooth Khurd office with Aman’s wife, Ward 31 municipal councillor Anju Kumar.
Below is a recent photograph of Aman and Krishan protesting against the Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government under the banner of the “Bharatiya Janata Party Delhi Unit”.
Heavy stone pelting and vandalism were reported from the area even as the police was caught on camera as mere spectators to the violence.
In a previous fact-check, AltNews showed that a protest against the farmers at the Singhu border on Thursday had been organised an outfit called the Hindu Sena. The organisation’s founder and president Vishnu Gupta had issued apress release which stated, “Today, local Hindu Sena activists along with local area residents went to Singhu border amid farmers and raised slogans against Khalistan supporters and appealed to the farmers to clear the road.”
It added: “Hindu Sena warned pro-Khalistan protesters that they resolve their problems in 24 hours after talking to the government and empty the Singhu border and the road,” it further added.
Alt News contacted Vishnu Gupta who reiterated that the protest had been organised against “Khalistani” elements in the farmers’ protest. “We want to give them an ultimatum to clear the roads. But we did not interact with farmer leaders since the area was barricaded by the police.” He added that the demonstration, which saw the participation of locals, was organised by the Hindu Sena. “We have local units that help in these situations,” he said.
The Hindu Sena is a fringe outfit that has often made headlines for its attempt to forcefully impose “Hindu values and culture”. Last year during Valentine’s Day, it warned couples of police arrest. The outfit had also threatened violence against Shaheen Bagh protestors and later called-off mobilisation. They had put up posters on the signage of India Islamic Cultural Centre which read “Jihadi Terrorist Islamic Centre”.
Many media outlets had failed to note that the Hindu Sena had organised the demonstration.
Read the AltNews factcheck here.