Fact-check: Is this a photo of Bhagat Singh being flogged under British rule?

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A photo of a man being flogged with his hands tied has been gathering a lot of traction recently. It is claimed that the photo shows Bhagat Singh being punished by the British police. The caption below reads, “This photo of Bhagat Singh being flogged for freedom was printed in the newspaper so that no one else dared to follow in his footsteps in India…Are there any such pictures of Gandhi or Nehru? How can I consider him the father of the nation? How can I believe that the spinning wheel brought freedom?”


Twitter user Umang had posted this photo as Bhagat Singh in 2020. (Archive link)

It is being widely circulated on Twitter with the same claim.

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The image is widespread on Facebook. It has made its way to WhatsApp as well.

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Fact-check

We performed a reverse image search and found the original photo in a report by Sabrang India dated April 7, 2019. There is no mention of Bhagat Singh anywhere in the report. It is noteworthy that this article is on the Jallianwala massacre. On April 13, 1919, General Dyer had ordered his men to open fire on civilians gathered at Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar.


We found another similar photo in a History Today article dated April 4, 2019. It states that a man was flogged in the wake of the Amritsar massacre of 1919. It also mentions Kim Wagner’s book on the Jallianwala massacre, where the author identified the massacre as the first step in the fall of the British Raj.

Wagner is a British historian who tweeted two images on May 22, 2018, describing them as public floggings in Kasur, Punjab. He revealed that Benjamin Horniman, a British journalist, had secretly smuggled these pictures from India in 1920 and had them published.

Indian historian Manan Ahmed had tweeted a set of pictures on February 10, 2019, including the photo in question. It was described as a Sikh student-soldier being publicly flogged.

It is noteworthy that Bhagat Singh was born on September 28, 1907, which would make him 12 years old in 1919. However, the individual in the viral image appears to be much older than 12. This confirms that he cannot be Singh.

Back in 2020, The Logical Indian, India Today, and Fact Crescendo had published fact-check reports debunking this picture.

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