The situation in Karnataka’s Shimoga remained tense after the murder of Bajrang Dal member Harsha Nagraj on February 19, with authorities imposing Section 144 in the area. Against this backdrop, a video of a youth speaking in favour of the hijab and criticising the BJP, RSS and Bajrang Dal is making the rounds online. It has been claimed that the youth is Harsha Nagraj and this was his final statement before his death.

The video is in Kannada and its English translation is as follows – “We appeal to you to also question this decision. When you do your work fearlessly, the authorities will fall in line. Right now, this is all playing out in the form of the hijab issue. But the same people who consider schools to be temples are now throwing stones at colleges. What kind of a culture is this? We condemn this wholeheartedly. We have called this press conference to demand that everyone involved in such activities should be brought to justice. The NIA should investigate all those speaking out against India and our constitution.”

The video is being circulated on WhatsApp. Alt News also received a few requests for its verification.

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Fact-check

Alt News discovered that the individual in the video is not Harsha Nagraj, but Campus Front of India (CFI) member Sarfaraz Gangavathi. The video was taken from a press conference held on February 8, which TV9 Kannada had covered. TV9 logo can also be seen in the viral visuals. The full video is attached below.

We compared an image of Nagraj used by the media with a screengrab from the video in question. It is clear that it is actually Gangavathi in the footage.

Alt News also reached out to Gangavathi for more information. He revealed that the video has been circulating online for the past few days and he had notified the police about the same. It was filmed during a press conference organised by CFI on the hijab row on February 8. He also confirmed that the individual in the video is him, not Harsha Nagraj.

Gangavathi’s name can also be found on the list of CFI’s elected members, as shown in the poster below.

To sum it up, an unrelated video was circulated online with the false claim that Harsha Nagraj of the Bajrang Dal publicly spoke out against the BJP and RSS before he was killed.

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About the Author

Priyanka Jha specialises in monitoring and researching mis/disinformation at Alt News. She also manages the Alt News Hindi portal.