As the agitation against the three newly passed agricultural laws continued for the 20th day on Tuesday, December 15, a report by a Telugu daily claimed that as many as 25,000 soldiers of the Indian Army have returned their Shaurya Chakra medals to show solidarity towards the protesting farmers.
According to a report published in Telugu newspaper Prajasakti, 25,000 Indian Army soldiers have shown their support to the agitating farmers by returning their Shaurya Chakra medals to the government.
"Twenty-five thousand jawans withdraw Shaurya Chakra Awards," read the sub-headline of the said news report in Telugu, marked in red, and published in 'Prajashakti' Newspaper on its front page.
Farmers from Punjab and Haryana have been protesting at various Delhi borders for almost three weeks now as they want the Central Government to withdraw the newly passed farm laws.
The three laws which the agitating farmers want to be repealed are -- Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act 2020.
In addition to this, other demands by farmers include rolling back of the Electricity (Amendment) Bill, and the abolition of stricter penalties and provisions of fine in the ordinance over stubble burning. Meanwhile, the government has been constantly appealing to farmer leaders to hold negotiations to resolve the issue.
Soon after the purported news report started gaining traction on different social media platforms, the government dubbed it as utterly false. The fact-checking arm of the government-owned Press Information Bureau (PIB) took to its official Twitter account to debunk the claims made by the Telugu newspaper.
While quashing the Prajasakti report, PIB Fact Check noted that the prestigious Shaurya Chakra medals have only been awarded to only 2,048 soldiers from 1956 till 2019. Therefore, the claim that 25,000 soldiers have returned their awards is baseless.
"Claim: Prajasakti newspaper has claimed that 25000 soldiers of the #IndianArmy have returned their Shaurya Chakra medals in solidarity with farmers' protest.#PIBFactCheck: This news is false. Only 2048 #ShauryaChakra have been awarded from 1956 till 2019," read the tweet by PIB Fact Check.
It should also be noted that the report doesn't substantiate the claim apart from stating that the jawans stand in solidarity with the agitating farmers with any citation or proof in the text. Moreover, besides the headline, there hasn't been any mention of soldiers withdrawing their awards in the text.