On December 3, a central delegation comprising ministers and officials met representatives of the protesting farmers’ unions in a bid to end the agitation in the National Capital Region (NCR). Farmers are protesting to get the new farm laws repealed as they fear they will take away the safety umbrella of MSP and leave them at the mercy of corporates.
Soon after the meeting ended inconclusively, a controversy broke out on social media regarding a remark purportedly made by Union agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar.
India Today Anti Fake News War Room (AFWA) spoke to various stakeholders and people present in the meeting, but no one confirmed that Tomar made such a statement. Though the issue of privatisation of several sectors and role of corporates came up for discussion, the names of Adani and Ambani were not mentioned.
How the controversy erupted
When we tried to find out how the purported statement by Tomar on Adani and Ambani originated, we found no mainstream media had published it. Some social media users, including those with verified handles, have posted a video in support of the claim. The clip is of a Punjabi YouTube channel called “KTV Global“.
Surprisingly, we found that “KTV Global” is not available in India. The YouTube channel is based out of the United Kingdom.
In the viral video, a reporter is speaking to two supposed farmers’ leaders. One of them in green turban says in Punjabi, “One thing that came out of Tomar’s mouth is that if I repeal this law today, then Adani, Ambani may come over tomorrow.”
The KTV Global reporter claims these farmers’ leaders were present in the meeting with the agriculture minister.
In the meeting yesterday with farmers agriculture minister @nstomar admitted that farm laws have been passed at the behest of Ambani and Adani.
He told farmers that if we try to take back these laws now then Ambani and Adani will come to us and tell us not to do so. pic.twitter.com/FKk5IDjvuS
— Akashnoor Singh Gadri (@AkashGadri) December 4, 2020
From its website, we contacted “KTV Global” in the UK and got the phone number of their correspondent Jasveer Singh, who was interviewing the farmers in the viral clip.
Jasveer told us that soon after the meeting between the government and farmers concluded, he went live with farmers’ leaders who were supposedly present in the meeting. But he could not give us the name of the person in green turban who made the controversial claim about Tomar.
Jasveer also confirmed to us that although he spoke to 8-10 farmers who came out of the meeting, only the man in green turban made the controversial claim. It seems misinformation about the agriculture minister originated from this particular clip as no other credible media has reported it so far.
What transpired in the meeting
India Today contacted some farmers’ leaders who were present in the meeting with Tomar.
According to them, among other things, the impact of corporates in the telecom sector was discussed. However, the minister said telecom and agriculture sectors are different and shouldn’t be confirmed. But the names of Adani or Ambani were never mentioned in the meeting, the farmers’ leaders said.
Major Singh Punnawal of Punjab Kisan Sabha said, “The minister might have said something about corporates in a passing reference. But the claim that he took the names of Ambani and Adani is not true.”
Hannan Mollah, general secretary of Left-affiliated All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), said, “The minister said he should also be considering the side of corporates. But he did not take the names of any corporate leaders as said in the claim.”
“I was present throughout the meeting. I do not recall any such remark being made,” Sandeep Gidde of Kisan Kranti Jan Andolan reiterated.
We tried to contact Tomar’s office about his reaction to the controversy. The minister did not comment directly on this controversy but retweeted a post by PIB Fact Check which also debunked the claim.
ClaimUnion agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar said in the meeting with farmers that if he repeals the farm laws, then “Adani and Ambani can also come to us”.ConclusionAlthough the role of the corporate sector in agriculture was discussed in the meeting, the names of Adani and Ambani were never mentioned by Tomar.
JHOOTH BOLE KAUVA KAATE
The number of crows determines the intensity of the lie.
- 1 Crow: Half True
- 2 Crows: Mostly lies
- 3 Crows: Absolutely false