Recently, an audio clip accompanied by an image is making the rounds on social media. The photo shows a group of girls in hijabs with burn marks and injuries on their faces and hands. In the audio clip, a young girl can be heard calling for help. She says, “I am talking to you from Baruasagar in the Jhansi district. There has been a wave of conflict between Hindus and Muslims for the past three days in Baruasagar, and I am a Muslim. They are attacking all Muslims. My brother was beaten badly and they are harassing Muslim daughters. Please share this call for help with all our Muslim brothers. The police and authorities are not doing anything. They side with the Hindus who enter our homes every night, attack our brothers, and harass us. Please help us. Send this message to all Muslim brothers so that they can help us. Please, please…”

Alt News also received requests to verify this on our WhatsApp helpline number (+91 76000 11160).

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The image and audio clip are associated with separate incidents. The audio clip has been circulating with false claims since 2019. In September 2019, it was added to a Likee video of a Bangladeshi user and posted with a misleading claim.

We performed a reverse image of the image and discovered that the injured girls shown here are actually wearing makeup. According to a November 2018 report, Kerala’s Malappuram unit and Kottoor North KMHSS School had jointly conducted a mock drill, and the image was taken the same day. It is also mentioned that photos from the drill were mistakenly shared online as real.

Alt News found that The Quint also published a fact-check report debunking the image in 2018. The outlet had reached out to the Malappuram Fire Department’s Home Guard Balachandran, who revealed that only the school, panchayat, and fire brigade knew about the drill being conducted. When the flames were spotted by concerned villagers nearby, they rushed to the scene. Balachandran also explained that the injury and burn marks seen on the students’ faces and hands were actually makeup applied by a teacher.

An old audio clip and images from a mock drill were falsely shared as communal violence against Muslims in Baruasagar, UP.

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About the Author

Priyanka Jha specialises in monitoring and researching mis/disinformation at Alt News. She also manages the Alt News Hindi portal.