“कर्नाटक में हिन्दू कार्यकताओं को मारा जा रहा है… केंद्र मौन क्यों???” (Hindu workers are being beaten in Karnataka…why is the centre quiet?- translated). A video circulating on Facebook shows at least four men mercilessly flogging a man outside a shop. The man has collapsed to the ground due to the beating and is bleeding profusely, yet the group continues to brutally thrash him. The video was posted at around 1 pm by two right-wing pages, namely ग्रेट नरेन्द्र मोदी (Great Narendra Modi) and Krantikari. They claimed that Hindus are being attacked in Karnataka. The video has combined views of more than 8,000 and has been shared by at least 400 people in merely three hours.

कर्नाटक में हिन्दू कार्यकताओं को मारा जा रहा है… केंद्र मौन क्यों???

Posted by ग्रेट नरेन्द्र मोदी on Saturday, June 9, 2018

What is the truth?

Alt News broke up the video into individual frames with InVid software for videos, and reverse searched the images via Google. But we were unable to find any information on the video. Watching it closely suggested that the crowd was speaking in Tamil but the caption claimed the incident occurred in Karnataka. However, we noticed several parked two-wheelers in the video whose number plates read KA, which confirmed that the incident did, in fact, occur in Karnataka. One of the bikes had its number plate with KA-04 written on it. The RTO code 04 pertains to Bangalore North.

Truncating the location to Bangalore helped us search for the video with specific keywords. We found that the incident was covered by News18 Kannada and Btv Kannada on June 4.

As per the report by Btv, the attack was triggered by a personal feud. The main perpetrator, Karthi, was married to the sister of one Surya. Surya informed his friend, Manoj, that Karthik had been troubling his sister. A day before the attack, Manoj met up with Karthik and warned him to take care of his wife. The next day, Karthik came with eight of his friends and brutally flogged Manoj with knives and swords.

News18 reported that the incident took place in Adugodi, Bengaluru. Five people have been arrested by the police in this case.

Karnataka remains a popular backdrop for the fake news industry as we approach the second half of 2018. Multiple instances of fake news had emerged in the run up to the Karnataka assembly election in the month of May. The flurry of misinformation with regard to the state has not abated, and continues to pepper social media.

Making videos and/or images with alternate, sinister narratives and sharing them across social media in a synchronised manner is a popular and predictable strategy for fake news purveyors. While some posts might be difficult to authenticate for the lay observer, any information of provocative nature on social media without credible sources should not be blindly believed.