Protesting farmers clashed with police in Chandigarh on June 26 as they tried to deliver a memorandum to the Raj Bhavan. After breaking past barriers, police used water cannons to disperse the protesters. Many people took to social media to protest the police action and express their support for farmers. Some people tweeted photos of an elderly woman being carried by six policewomen and accused Chandigarh police of being anti-farmer and treating civilians unjustly.
The claims, as well as the image, were judged to be false by our sources. The photo was taken during a rally in Patiala, Punjab, in August 2015. It has nothing to do with the ongoing farmers’ strike.
According to these accounts, the photo was shot during a clash between several farmers and police officers who arrived in Hariau Kalan village in Patiala to clear a panchayat land that had been “illegally” held by some locals. The police and administration teams had court orders to take custody of the land, but when they began to seal the homes, angry farmers began throwing stones at them.
To deal with the incident, officers used lathicharge and tear gas. Farmers said they had a court order preventing them from leaving the farm, but police refused to listen. According to news sources, the clash injured twelve farmers and three cops.
As a result, a six-year-old photograph is being spread as evidence of police abuse during the ongoing farmers’ protest.
When a video of a boy being “lathi-charged and beaten” by Chandigarh police went viral on June 26, city SSP Kuldeep Singh Chahal told “The Tribune” that he wasn’t obeying even farmers’ leaders and that “soft force” had to be employed.
Over the Chandigarh violence, police also filed many FIRs against farmers’ leaders on a variety of offenses, including rioting.