Fact Check: Did Boris Johnson Cancel His Republic Day Visit To India Due To Farmers Agitation? Here’s The Truth

With Republic Day around the corner, social media has become a hub of fake news with regards to the celebrations. One such misinformation in circulation is that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who was invited as a Chief Guest of Republic Day celebrations, cancelled his visit due to the ongoing farmers’ agitation in India.

We found several posts on social media, some written in Punjabi, with this claim. You can see them here and here.

May be an image of 1 person and text that says "M bluffmas bluffmastermodi किसान आंदोलन की अंतराष्ट्रीय मंच पर बड़ी जीत ब्रिटेन के PM ने गणतंत्र दिवस पर होने वाला भारतीय दौरा रद्द किया"

Another such post in Punjabi reads that PM Boris Johnson’s cancelled his Republic Day visit, under the pressure exerted by farmer leaders in the UK in support of the undergoing farmers’ agitation in Delhi.

The literal translation of the post reads, “The chief guest of 26 Jan (Republic Day), Boris Johnson cancelled his visit due to corona. They want an excuse, but the real reason is the agriculture bill. The pressure was built by Punjabi farmers living abroad. UK PM Boris Johnson cancels visit to India later this month.”

FACT CHECK

NewsMobile verified this post and found it to be false and misleading.

For the first time, Republic Day celebrations have been dampened by the coronavirus pandemic. Citing the emergence and spread of the new COVID-19 strain in the UK, British PM Boris Johnson cancelled his Republic Day visit to India.

In our research, we found that, in a press release issued on Jan 5, Tuesday, the UK Foreign Office said the decision to cancel the UK PM’s visit was taken in view of the pandemic which has escalated in the United Kingdom because of the new variant of the coronavirus.

As per the UK govt, the lockdown was announced in the country, flights were banned and the country was going through a crisis as the new UK strain of the virus had spread vastly.

“The Prime Minister spoke to Prime Minister Modi this morning, to express his regret that he will be unable to visit India later this month as planned. In light of the national lockdown announced last night (Jan 4), and the speed at which the new coronavirus variant is spreading, the Prime Minister said that it was important for him to remain in the UK so he can focus on the domestic response to the virus,” said the press statement from UK Foreign Ministry. This information was quoted by The Hindu in a news article dated January 5, 2020.

Ministry Of External Affairs also confirmed the same in a press release on January 5, 2021. You can see the Press Release here.

Moreover, Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava on January 14 clarified that “Due to the global COVID-19 situation, it has been decided that this year there will not be a foreign head of state or head of government as the chief guest for our Republic Day event.”

During a press briefing, he clarified that this decision was taken after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s last-minute decision to cancel his visit due to the spread of a mutant strain of the coronavirus in the UK.

Hence, this proves that the reason behind the cancellation of British PM’s visit is solely UK’s coronavirus outbreak and not related to the ongoing farmers’ agitation. Thereby, the claim attached to the post is false and misleading.

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