Did Kanhaiya Kumar say “Hanuman burnt Lanka as another man’s wife was insulted”? False claim

An infamous Twitter handle @squintneon posted a video of CPI’s Begusarai candidate Kanhaiya Kumar and alleged that the young politician said that Hanuman set fire to Lanka because somebody else’s wife was disrespected. “Hanuman doosre ki bibi ke apmaan ke liye Lanka jala diye,” read the first sentence of the tweet, which subsequently termed Kumar’s alleged statement “anti-woman and anti-Hindu”. @squintneon, run by state social media in-charge of ABVP Assam, Manas Jyoti Sharma, added that people like Kanhaiya Kumar are the ones who stand and watch when women get raped or molested. @squintneon attempted to portray that Kumar disregarded a deity in Hinduism.

The 25-second clip was soon picked up by other social media users.

False claim

The statement ascribed to the CPI candidate was not uttered by him. This is apparent if one watches the 25-second clip. Kumar did not say “apmaan (disrespect)” but said “apharan (kidnap)”.

His complete statement is – “दूसरे की पत्नी जो है उनका अपहरण हुआ उसके लिए लंका जला दी. और यहाँ हनुमान जी के नाम पे अपने देश के लोगो का घर जला रहे है. (Hanuman ji burnt Lanka for another man’s wife and here, in the name of Hanuman ji, the houses of our own people are burning.)” Upon searching for videos of Kumar with the keywords – “Kahnaiya Kumar Hanuman speech” – we found that this particular speech is at least a year old. Kumar was talking about the appropriation of Hanuman, who has now become a prominent symbol of Hindutva.

Misinformation targeting Kanhaiya Kumar has often found a place in social media. Earlier, another one of his speeches was presented with false rhetoric.

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