A video of a man who is being pulled by his hair and questioned by a mob is being shared on social media with a claim that a child-kidnapper was caught in Punjab. “पंजाब में महिला ने पकड़ा बच्चा चोर गैंग का एक आदमी (In Punjab, a woman caught a member of the child-lifting gang -translated)”, reads the title of the video posted on YouTube on August 12, 2019.


The same video was posted by several other YouTube channels like ARN Music Bhojpuri. Alt News has received fact-check requests on its official app. It is being claimed that a team of 2,000 Rohingyas is prowling across India to lift children who will be sacrificed. “सावधान पूरे हिन्दुस्तान में रोहिंग्या की 2000 लोगो की टीम आयी है जो बच्चों को उठा के ले जा रही है कोई बेचता है कोई बलि के लिये ले जाता है खुद देखो सुनो ओर ज्यादा से ज्यादा इसे फैलाओ”, asserts the text.


On listening to the conversation in the video, Alt News found that the mob is conversing in Punjabi. We then did a Google search with keywords like “Baccha chor Punjab” in Punjabi and found a two-week-old post. The Punjabi text attested with the video reads, “ਟੀਨਾ ਨਾਮ ਦੀ ਔਰਤ ਗਲੀ ਨੰਬਰ 8 ਟੈਗੋਰ ਨਗਰ(ਜਲੰਧਰ) ਦੇ ਹਥੱ ਚੋ ਖੋਹ ਕੇ ਦੌੜ ਰਿਹਾ ਬੱਚਾ ਚੋਰ ਪਕੜ ਕੇ ਪੁਲਸ ਦੇ ਹਵਾਲੇ ਕੀਤਾ। ਇਹ ਮੈਸਜ ਅਗੌ ਸ਼ੇਅਰ ਕਰਨ ਦੀ ਕ੍ਰਿਪਾਲਤਾ ਕੀਤੀ ਜਾਵੇ। (A woman named Tina had caught a thief in the lane number 8 of Tagore Nagar, Jalandhar and handed over to the police – loosely translated via Google)”.

We then ran a keyword search on Google with Hindi keywords, “टीना बच्चा चोर”, and found a Dainik Bhaskar report published on August 8, 2019. The incident took place on the morning on August 7 in New Sant Nagar locality of Punjab’s Jalandhar city. Tina Sharma was on her way to drop her child to school when a drunk man forcefully tried to take her child while allegedly saying, “give me” your kid. Listening to Tina’s cries for help, a crowd had gathered at the spot and he was beaten up. According to the report, a waiter was falsely accused of child-lifting and was let off only after the family was informed about every aspect of the investigation.

Alt News reached out the Division 5 police station, SHO Ravinder Singh, who said, “He was a waiter who used to stay at his uncle’s place. He was drinking alcohol from the night before the incident and the next morning, he again had some more drinks. He was lying on a bench that day when this woman was passing by him on the road. Then, this man tried to touch the woman’s child and the woman thought he had come to lift her child. That was the case. People mistook him of being a child-lifter. He got sober, nearly fours hours after the incident.”

Raju, the man who was beaten by a mob over a false suspicion of him being a child-kidnapper, was handed over to his younger brother Michael and uncle Durga Bahadur after taking assurance from the child’s family.

A video of a drunk man who was harassed by a group of people over the accusation that he was trying to lift a child in Punjab was shared on social media with the false claim that a child-kidnapper was caught in Punjab. Similarly, in Rajasthan’s Bandikui city, a drunk man held captive on false suspicion of him being a child lifter.

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.