Bollywood actress Kangana Ranaut as yet again made a false claim on social media, this time about the 90-year-old Bilkis from Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh protests, better known to the world as “Dadi".
In a shocking post that has since been deleted, Ranaut claimed that the Bano was available for hire to make appearances in protests for “Rs 100".
It all started when images of Bilkis Bano, the Shaheen Bagh protester who was named among Time Magazine’s List of 100 Most Influential People in 2020, started being shared alongside the image of another old woman.
Amid the ongoing farmers’ protests in the capital, images, images of old women in yellow scarves marching for the farmers’ cause went viral. Soon, the image was shared alongside an image of Bilkis from the protest, with the claim that both women in the photographs were in fact the same.
Some claimed that Bilkis was in fact “Dadi for hire" who appeared in protests after taking money from organizers for her appearance.
Not one to verify claims before sharing them, actress Kangana Ranaut also joined the fake news brigade and propagated the claim further. “She is the same Dadi who was named by Time Magazine as India’s most powerful person…And she is available in Rs 100".
Ranaut also added that “Pakistani" journalists had “hijacked PR for India in an embarrassing way. We need more our own people to speak for us internationally".
Ranaut’s claims have since been refuted by fact-checkers. Speaking to Boom, Bilkis herself confirmed that she had not appeared at the farmer’s protest.
“I am sitting at home, in Shaheen Bagh. I am not the one in the photo. The farmers who are protesting and the photo of the woman that is being shared is not mine. I will be joining the protest tomorrow," Bilkis told BOOM over video.
Her son also confirmed that though Bilkis did plan to join the protest, she had not yet made an appearance.
The fact-check also found that the image was shared by other platforms such as Amar Ujala on November 27 while describing a convoy of women who came to Delhi as part of the protests. The origin of the photo remains unverified. However, in the photo, the women can be seen with Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta Ugrahan) flags and wearing yellow scarves - the uniform of women farmers belonging to the organisation.
The image could in fact be from 2015 when a large number of women in yellow scarves from the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta Ugrahan) led protests against the Centre’s farm bills in Chandigarh.