Trigger Warning: Suicide, Self Harm

The story uses only screenshots and not actual tweets in view of the graphic nature of the viral video.

A video of a man chopping off his finger with a butcher’s knife and showing it to the camera has gone viral on social media and WhatsApp. It is claimed that the man in the video regretted voting for BJP and chose to cut off the very finger with which he had voted.

A Twitter user named Asma (@asmatasleem13), who describes herself as ‘Congress Minority SM convenor Telangana’ in her bio, shared a still from the viral video. (Archive)

The image has the following words written on it: “शख़्स ने जिस उंगली से भाजपा को वोट दिया उसे काट दिया”.

A Facebook user named श्यामजीत यादव समाजवादी पार्टी अमेठी विधानसभा 186 (Shyam Jeet Yadav Samajwadi Party Amethi Assembly 186) shared the video on Facebook with the claim that the man in the video regretted having voted for BJP and chopped off his finger in disgust.

Alt News received multiple requests on WhatsApp to verify the authenticity of the video.

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Fact Check

Here is a transcrip of what the man in the viral video says: “Each day I’ll send you one part of my body as a gift. See this (while chopping the finger). I am gifting it to you Modi government. See this. Doesn’t it feel/sounds good? I’ll keep gifting you one part of my body each day…I’ll keep gifting you one part of my body each week.”

We noted the logo of media outlet News24 on the image shared by Twitter user Asma. We looked for the original post by News24 Channel and found that the tweet itself was misleading. While the text on the image said “शख़्स ने जिस उंगली से भाजपा को वोट दिया उसे काट दिया” (Man chops off the finger with which he voted for BJP), the tweet said, “Until the accused are arrested, I will cut off each and every part of my body and send it to the government”. In Maharashtra, brother and sister-in-law committed suicide, and the other brother cut off his finger for not getting justice.” The person is identified in the tweet as Dhananjay Nanavare. (Archive)

Taking a cue from this, we performed a keyword search and came across several reports on the incident. On August 1, Dhananjay’s brother Nandkumar Nanavare and Nandkumar’s wife Urmila Nanavare died by suicide by jumping from the terrace of their bungalow. According to a report by the Free Press Journal. Nandkumar was a personal assistant of BJP MLA Pappu Kalani and also worked for Shiv-Sena MLA Balaji Kinikar.

The report quotes Shivtaj Patil, deputy commissioner of police (Crime Branch), Thane, as saying, ” We are probing the case and during the probe we came across four names mentioned in the suicide note by the deceased. We have detained them and are currently questioning them.”

The report adds, “An FIR was filed against one Sangram Nikalje and unknown persons for abetting suicide. A case was registered under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections 306 (abetting suicide) and 34 (common intention). However even after 18 days there was no progress in the case… Dhanajay was depressed over not getting justice for his deceased brother’s and on Friday he left his home in the morning and went to the poultry farm he owns. He then shot a video on his phone which went viral.”

We also found a 51-second video of Dhananjay Nanavare where he says the chopped finger, the same one with which he had voted for the BJP, is a gift to the Modi government and he will hand it over to police.

Here is a transcript of this video: “I had used this very finger to vote for the BJP party. I’m taking this finger to the nearby police station and giving it to them. They have put us in a very difficult spot, we are under pressure. Local goons are attacking us. What a terrible position to be in. I have come to this nearby police station to drop off this cut finger of mine. this is a gift to the modi sarkar. (The police in the background yells to pick up the finger) he silently picks it up.”

Speaking about the nature of the alleged harassment faced by his brother, Dhananjay told Hindustan Times, “My brother had given 10 lakh in cash to a person a day before the suicide. I learnt about this while scanning his bank account details. Police should investigate this, as it means the accused were harassing him for money too”. “I am still very sure that I will cut my body parts one by one to get justice for my brother,” said Dhananjay adding that doctors had told him that a reconstructive surgery was not possible. India Today reported that he was admitted to a private hospital in Pune.

We can conclude that the claim that the man chopped his finger because he voted for BJP with it is misleading. Though he mentioned that in a video, the primary reason for inflicting the injury upon himself was to protest against reported police inaction in the case involving his brother and sister-in-law’s alleged suicide. Also, the man in the video is Dhananjay Nanavare and not Pawan Kumar as claimed in some of the viral posts.

Shreyatama Datta is an intern at Alt News.

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