Mumbai is yet again in the news as heavy rainfall and poor drainage have left parts of the city paralysed. At least 35 citizens have reportedly died in rain-related incidents, with the BMC receiving falk over its repeated inability to contain the situation every year. A video has been shared on social media with claims suggesting that it shows a motorcycle swallowed by a manhole in Chembur, Mumbai.

The video shows four men pulling out the submerged two-wheeler. A section of the media reported that the video was shot in Chembur, Mumbai. Initially, Scroll published an article based on a tweet by journalist Sourav Sanyal, titled, “Watch: Two-wheeler sinks into open manhole during Mumbai rains”. Later, the report was updated with a denial from the BMC that the clip was not from the city.

News18 had also tweeted the same video claiming that it was from Chembur. Journalist Sucheta Dalal quote-tweeted the video criticising Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. This video was later deleted by News18 without issuing any clarification for the same.

Mumbai Mirror published the video with a disclaimer saying, “Mirror cannot independently verify the authenticity of this video”.

Other media outlets like NDTV India, Punjab Kesari, Jagran group’s Nai Dunia, Nyooz TV and Newsroom Post also claimed that the incident took place in Chembur, Mumbai.

Video from Jalna, Maharastra

Alt News found that Abhijit Deshmukh, a journalist based out of Pune, was one of the earliest to post the video on social media claiming it to be from Jalna, Maharastra. He had posted the video on July 3, 2019.

Alt News contacted Deshmukh to confirm that the clip was from Maharastra’s Jalna. Deshmukh informed us that he knows the exact location where the clip was shot as Jalna is his hometown. He later uploaded a video of the same spot on Twitter on July 9 as proof that the clip was shot in Jalna.

In the comparison posted below, the image on the left is a screengrab from the video published by several media outlets, while the one on the right is from the video tweeted by Deshmukh on July 9. The juxtaposition corroborates that the location in both the videos is the same – a roadside in Jalna.

India Today’s Aaj Tak was among the media outlets that had initially reported that the video was from Chembur, Mumbai. This was pointed out by Deshmukh.

I was expecting it, Aaj tak has picked the video that I’ve posted on twitter. They have accepted it as a Chembur video and not from Jalna, Maharashtra. Really? That’s what authenticity of such a credible news channel. If things goes in this way, it will be difficult to trust such news channel.

Posted by Abhijit Deshmukh on Monday, 8 July 2019

The video also found a mention in an article published by India Today based on an individual’s tweet. The article was subsequently updated with a correction that the video is from Jalna. Ironically, India Today later published a fact-check on the video, where it called out Scoopwhoop’s misreport, however, failed to point out its own faux-pas.

In conclusion, several media outlets misreported a video from Jalna, Maharastra as Mumbai. Jalna is about 400 km away from the capital city of Maharashtra. It is also noteworthy that while the bike was claimed to have been swallowed by a manhole, the two-wheeler was submerged in an overflowing gutter.

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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.