The story uses only screenshots and not actual tweets in view of the graphic nature of the viral video.
A video has gone viral on social media, which shows a group of men barging into a room and assaulting a man and two women who are barely clad. All three can be seen hurrying to cover themselves up as the men rain blows on them. The mob assaults the two women in particular and takes away their clothes while making the video. The video has been clubbed with photographs of a monk and shared on social media with the claim that the man in the video is the monk in the photographs.
Twitter user @Gulista614 shared the video on July 16 with a caption that said, “Two sisters were caught red-handed with a monk while inaugurating Hindu Rashtra.” It is apparent that the user suggested that the man seen in the video and the still photograph was a Hindu monk. (Archive)
Another user named @Satwant_Rana_ shared the same video with a caption in Hindi that used the word ‘Guruji’. The user also asked everyone to beware of ‘babas’.
First, we ran a reverse image search with the image of the monk dressed in a yellow robe. This led us to a web-page called Guruji Sangat Foundation. We came to know that the monk in the viral posts was Nirmal Singh Maharaj from Punjab who was also widely known in North India as ‘Guruji’. According to this website “Guruji took mahasamadhi (died) on 31st May 2007.”.
Next, with the help of digital verification tool InVid, we broke the viral video into multiple key-frames and ran reverse image search. This led us to a news report by Asian Mirror from July 8, 2023 which contained a still from the viral video.
According to the report, the man in the video was identified as a monk named Pallegama Sumana Thero. The incident took place in Navagamuwa in Colombo district of Sri Lanka. Thero was a prominent person in the community.
According to a report by Sri Lanka Mirror, Thero is a Buddhist monk. A report by Lankasara, another media outlet from Sri Lanka, said eight people had been arrested for assaulting the trio and circulating the video. This report specified the location of the incident as a temple located at Upper Bomiriya area in Navagamuwa police station area.
Therefore, it can be concluded that the viral video shows an incident in Sri Lanka and is not related to India. The person in the photograph circulated alongside the video is the late Nirmal Singh Maharaj from Punjab who is not related in any way to the incident. He passed away in 2007.
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