Fact Check: This rickshaw-puller was a lockdown saviour, wasn’t jailed for anti-CAA protests

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A picture of a man standing with a cycle-rickshaw has gone viral on social media with the claim that he is Kaleem from Lucknow, who was jailed and fined Rs 21 lakh by the Uttar Pradesh government for bringing anti-CAA protesters to rallies.

The post was shared by Twitter user “Harun Khan”, who claims to be a screenwriter. His tweet in Hindi translates to, “This man is Kaleem, a rickshaw-puller in Lucknow. The UP government imposed a fine of Rs 21 lakh on him and put him in jail, accusing him of bringing anti-CAA protesters to rallies. Neither will he have Rs 21 lakh, nor will he be able to see the outside world again.”

India Today Anti Fake News War Room (AFWA) has found the viral post to be misleading. Though a similar incident was reported from Lucknow, the viral picture has nothing to do with it.

The archived version of the post can be seen here. The post is also circulating on Facebook.

AFWA investigation

Using a reverse image search, we found that the viral picture was used in an article by “The Hindu” on April 3.

The article is about a rickshaw-puller in Delhi, named Uttam Kumar Singh, who helped people in despair during the lockdown. A resident of Kirti Nagar, he dropped people to their destinations free of cost from Moti Nagar metro station.

The picture credit was given to one Hemani Bhandari, who works as a correspondent with “The Hindu”. AFWA reached out to her regarding the picture and she confirmed that it was taken on April 2 near Moti Nagar metro station. Singh had told her that he’d been living in Kirti Nagar for years.

However, AFWA found that the incident described in the viral claim is almost true.

Another report by “The Hindu” from Lucknow, published on July 4, says that “a rickshaw driver accused of arson and vandalism in last year’s protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act here has become the first person to be re-arrested for failing to pay up the fine — in his case, 21.76 lakh — as recovery for the damage to private and public property”.

The person’s name is Mohammed Kaleem and he was accused of violence in Lucknow’s Khadra area on December 19, 2019. Kaleem was out on bail but was arrested again for failing to pay the fine, the article says. Among others, his name was also displayed on hoardings erected across Lucknow in a bid to “name and shame” the accused.

We also spoke to Omar Rashid, the reporter who covered this news for “The Hindu”. He told us that the man in the viral picture is not Kaleem. The person in question was an auto-rickshaw driver who later shifted to rented carts to transport refrigerators and coolers. At present, Kaleem is in jail, Rashid said.

Therefore, it can be concluded that the viral post is misleading. The picture used in the post to tell Kaleem’s story is actually of a rickshaw-puller in Delhi, who helped people during the lockdown crisis.

ClaimThe picture is of Kaleem, a rickshaw-puller in Lucknow, who was jailed and fined Rs 21 lakh by the UP government for bringing anti-CAA protesters to rallies.ConclusionThe incident is almost true but the picture is of Uttam Singh, a rickshaw-puller in Delhi, who dropped people stuck in the lockdown to their destinations free of cost.


The number of crows determines the intensity of the lie.

  • 1 Crow: Half True
  • 2 Crows: Mostly lies
  • 3 Crows: Absolutely false
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