“This is India… In Uttar Pradesh a Christian pastor is being given a donkey ride after shaving his head in half. This inhuman act was done by the activists of a youth organization, Hindu Yuvavahini Bajrag Dal founded by Yogi Adityanath.”

This message has been shared along with a photograph which shows a man with a half shaven head sitting on a donkey, surrounded by men sporting saffron.

The above tweet has been retweeted over 1700 times and ‘liked’ over 2700 times since it was posted on April 18. The message and photo have been shared by several individuals on Twitter.

What is the truth?

Alt News fact-checked this claim and found that the photograph represents an incident which had taken place at Jalaun in Uttar Pradesh in January 2016. According to a report by The Telegraph, “Suspected Bajrang Dal activists tonsured the head of a youth in Jalaun district of Uttar Pradesh and paraded him on a donkey for four hours last evening after accusing him of being involved in conversions.”

The report states that Awadhesh Kumar, the youth was finally rescued by the police, and five Bajrang Dal members along with the barber who had tried to shave his head were arrested. In his defence, Awadhesh Kumar had denied compelling anyone to convert. He had filed an FIR against 25 Bajrang Dal members and about 200 unidentified men. It may be noted that the person in question is NOT a Christian pastor, as claimed on social media.

Further, it may be pointed out that the message refers to “Hindu Yuvavahini Bajrag Dal”. Bajrang Dal and Hindu Yuva Vahini are two separate organisations, albeit within the fold of the Sangh parivar. Bajrang Dal is the youth wing of the VHP and a militant wing of the parivar. Hindu Yuva Vahini is a youth organisation founded by UP CM Yogi Adityanath.

In conclusion, an incident from January 2016 has been passed off as recent, along with the false claim that the harassed person is a pastor.

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About the Author

Arjun Sidharth is a writer with Alt News. He has previously worked in the television news industry, where he managed news bulletins and breaking news scenarios, apart from scripting numerous prime time television stories. He has also been actively involved with various freelance projects. Sidharth has studied economics, political science, international relations and journalism. He has a keen interest in books, movies, music, sports, politics, foreign policy, history and economics. His hobbies include reading, watching movies and indoor gaming.