A video of an India Today broadcast showing masked men waving guns at people has gone viral on social media. Masked men in the video can be seen brandishing guns and directing a crowd. “This is how people were brought into the mahagatbandhan rally in Kolkata. Imagine the government in their hands tomorrow”, reads the message circulated along with the video posted by a Facebook page भारत: An Untold Story. It has been viewed close to 3000 times from the page alone.

Several other individual users have shared this on Facebook and Twitter.

Twitter users, Pinky Sudhir Mishra and @ExSecular have tweeted the video with an identical narrative. These two tweets have garnered close to 1500 retweets combined. @ExSecular is followed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Twitter.

India Today’s 8-month-old broadcast

Alt News did a Google search with keywords, “Masked men West Bengal India Today”, and found a India Today broadcast from April, 2014. According to the broadcast, the masked man in the video were brandishing guns at the local during the last day of filing nominations for Panchayat election in Bankura district of West Bengal.

Moreover, an article published by India Today on April 24, 2018 also stated, “The day-long extension for filing nominations for West Bengal panchayat election was once again marred by violence. One person was killed and several others were injured in a clash that erupted in various districts between ruling TMC and opposition members.” This claim was earlier fact-checked by Times of India.

In conclusion, the video pertains to the violence that broke out before the West Bengal Panchayat elections in April, 2018 and the claim that the masked men were threatening people to participate in the Opposition’s United rally is false. Earlier as well, misinformation around the United India rally was circulated on social media with the false claim that Mamata Banerjee was exclusively promoting Islam and Urdu at the rally. A doctored video of Arvind Kejriwal’s speech was also circulated which portrayed him stating that the duo of Modi and Amit Shah will ruin Pakistan, if voted back to power.

About the Author

Jignesh is a writer and researcher at Alt News. He has a knack for visual investigation with a major interest in fact-checking videos and images. He has completed his Masters in Journalism from Gujarat University.