Child abuse video from Syria used to target RM VM School in Valsad, Gujarat

Jignesh Mevani, an independent MLA from Vadgam, Gujarat, tweeted a video of a child being brutally thrashed and claimed that he received the video on WhatsApp. He wrote that the clip was shared with the message, “आप के whatsapp पे जितने भी नंबर एवं ग्रुप हैं एक भी छूटने नही चाहिए, ये वीडियो सबको भेजिए ये वलसाड के RM VM SCHOOL का टीचर है इसको इतना शेयर करो की ये टीचर और स्कूल दोनों बंद हो जाए।  (None of your WhatsApp contacts and groups should be left behind. Send this video to everyone and make it viral. This teacher is from RM VM School. Share this video to an extent and the teacher and school both are shut.)”

Alt News has not hyperlinked Mevani’s tweet (or any other tweet or website in this article) because of the graphic nature of the video. A screenshot of the Gujarat MLA’s tweet is attached below.

After a few people claimed that the video is from Egypt, Mevani quote-tweeted his earlier post and asked people to tell him if it’s from Valsad or Egypt.

We found that the video has been also circulating on WhatsApp and Facebook.

What is the truth?

Alt News broke the video into multiple frames and reversed-searched the images on the Russian search engine Yandex. We found several foreign websites carrying the same video last year. A Middle-Eastern online news portal Al-Masdar News published a report on the incident in February 2018. According to the media platform, ” A group of Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters kidnapped a nine-year-old boy that was travelling to his school in the eastern countryside of the Dara’a Governorate last month [January 2018]…Since the nine-year-old boy’s kidnapping, the Free Syrian Army fighters have demanded the child’s family pay a ransom of $1 million (USD) in exchange for securing their son’s release.” 

 Al-Masdar News claimed that the video was sent by FSA rebels to the child’s family.

We also found a tweet by a Syrian journalist Nedal Al-Amari who had shared the same video in February 2018 and said that it was sent by the kidnappers to the boy’s family.

The video is, thus, not from India. This was also evident from the language that the child spoke. The same institution, RM VM School, was targetted with a child abuse video last year as well. A clip from Syria was falsely shared as children being thrashed by a teacher in the school.

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