A 44-second CCTV footage of a man in a skull cap sexually assaulting children is circulating on the Indian social media ecosystem. The video has been not been attached in the report to protect the children’s identities.

Founder of fake news website Postcard News Mahesh Vikram Hegde tweeted the video and wrote “Watch what this “peaceful” is doing with kids!” This tweet was retweeted over 3,000 times. Despite Hedge’s history of peddling misinformation, he is followed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Twitter.

Several users have shared the viral video with a Tamil text – “look what a single source is doing (இந்த தனியார் அமைப்பை சேர்ந்தவன் என்னா பண்றானு பாருங்க..)” – linking it with the coronavirus outbreak. Twitter user @my_keechu was among those who posted the message in Tamil. This tweet has been retweeted over 700 times.

The video was also shared with a message in Hindi which claims that the man was applying his spittle on children during the ongoing month of Ramzan. “जानवर भी कांप जांए जालीदार टोपी वाले जानवरों से रमजान में *छोटी बच्चियों को थूक लगा रहा है* मौलवी निहायत ही घिनौना और वहशी दरिंदा,” reads the complete message.

Alt News has received several requests to fact-check the video on WhatsApp (+91 76000 11160) and on our official Android application.

Video from Pakistan

Alt News performed several keyword searches on Google. The keywords ‘CCTV paedophile viral video Pakistan’ led us to the video posted by the website newpakweb.com on April 21. According to the report, the man in the video was arrested by Dera Ghazi Khan police over charges of child abuse in Punjab, Pakistan. Dera Ghazi Khan is a city in the Punjab province of Pakistan.

Using this as a clue, we rummaged through tweets by the official account of Punjab police, Pakistan. On April 21, Punjab Police quote-tweeted a tweet by another user who brought the viral video to the police’s attention. “Punjab police have arrested the accused. Further legal proceedings are underway against the accused,” reads the police’s tweet.

In another reply to the same user, Punjab police shared a photograph of the accused behind bars.

Thus, an incident of child abuse in Pakistan caught on CCTV camera has been widely shared by Indian social media users. Some even claimed that it was an attempt to apply spittle on children during the coronavirus pandemic.

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About the Author

Archit is a graduate in English Literature from The MS University of Baroda. He also holds a post-graduation diploma in journalism from the Asian College of Journalism. Since then he has worked at Essel Group's English news channel at WION as a trainee journalist, at S3IDF as a fundraising & communications officer and at The Hindu as a reporter. At Alt News, he works as a fact-checking journalist.