Video does not show Nupur Sharma being arrested for controversial remarks

The woman in the clip has been identified as activist Bhumi Birmi.

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Claim: A video shows Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson Nupur Sharma being arrested following her recent controversial comments about the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

Fact: Nupur Sharma has not been arrested. The woman seen in the viral video has been identified as Bhumi Birmi, who, according to her Facebook profile, is district president of the women’s wing of the Bhartiya Kisan Union in Rajasthan, India. The video shows Birmi being restrained by police during a farmers’ protest in Rajasthan. 

Fact or Fiction?

On 19 June 2022, Facebook user Sabir Ali vrt Ali shared a clip with a caption that suggests the video shows Bharatiya Janata Party’s spokesperson Nupur Sharma being arrested. The caption of the post reads, “Nupur Sharma arrested. नूपुर शर्मा गिरफ्तार। नुपुर शर्मा ही है ना? [Nupur Sharma arrested. Is it Nupur Sharma?] SUBSCRIBE Sabir Ali vrt YOUTUBE.”

The claim was  picked up by some Pakistani pages, such as here, here, here and here, and shared with the Urdu caption, “یہ ہے وہ عورت گستاخ رسول جس نے بکواس کی تھی دیکھ لو سب اس کا کیا حال کر دیا اب [This is the woman who insulted Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and uttered nonsense. See what has happened to her now].”

It was also shared on multiple groups including, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, among others.

Soch Fact Check found the claim to be false after doing a keyword search on Twitter using the term “Nupur Sharma arrested” which led us to a tweet published on 21 June 2022 by India-based fact-checker Bhagwant Singh Rupal. 

Rupal clarified that the woman in the video is not Nupur Sharama but Bhumi Birmi, who, according to her Facebook profile, is district president of the women’s wing of the Bhartiya Kisan Union in Rajasthan, India. Rupal also shared a link to the original video of the arrest posted on Birmi’s Facebook profile on 15 June 2022.

A Google search using the phrase, “Nupur Sharma arrested,” revealed that some IFCN-certified fact-checking websites — including Boom Live, Newschecker, India Today, The Quint and others such as Alt News— have debunked the claim that the video in question shows Nupur Sharma’s arrest. In fact, it shows a clash between protesting farmers and police in Rajasthan’s Churu district. They also confirmed that the woman seen in the video is Bhumi Birmi, and not Sharma.

The proliferation of the claim appears linked to the controversy surrounding Sharma following her remarks during a television show that were seen as insulting to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Sharma’s comments prompted  large protests across India and were met with international condemnation. According to Indian publications, she has since been suspended by the BJP and faces multiple FIRs, including one launched by the Delhi Police, but has not been arrested.

Virality

Soch Fact Check conducted a CrowdTangle analysis for the three-day period leading up to 22 June 2022 using the following search term:

  • یہ ہے وہ عورت گستاخ رسول جس نے بکواس کی تھی دیکھ لو سب اس کا کیا حال کر دیا اب
  • Nupur Sharma arrested
  • Nupur Sharma arrested. नूपुर शर्मा गिरफ्तार। नुपुर शर्मा ही है ना?

The first search term turned up 104,583 interactions across 113 posts, the second search term turned up 79,697 interactions across 464 posts, while the third search term revealed three posts with 7,816 interactions on Facebook.

The results for the Urdu search term revealed that Saraiki song’s post is performing 129 times better than other similar posts on Facebook, with 77,200 likes and 20,800 shares. The results for the English/Hindi search term revealed that this post shared on a group is performing nine times better than other similar posts, with 2,900 likes and 4,400 shares.

Conclusion: The woman in the viral clip has been identified as Bhumi Birmi —  district president of the women’s wing of the Bhartiya Kisan Union in Churu, Rajasthan— not Nupur Sharma. The video, in fact, shows a clash between police and farmers during a farmer’s protest in Churu, Rajasthan in India. According to Indian publications, while Sharma faces multiple FIRs over her recent controversial comments, she has not been arrested.

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