A clip of a mob thrashing a man being escorted by a police officer has been shared on Facebook and Twitter. The video has a logo of Lucknow-based TV news channel Bharat Samachar on the top right corner. As per social media, the man who was apprehended is BJP leader ‘Umesh Singh’ and he was chanting pro-Pakistan slogans in an attempt to discredit the ongoing farmers’ protest.

(Translated from Hindi text किसान आंदोलन में घुस कर पाकिस्तान जिंदाबाद के नारे लगाते भाजपा नेता उमेश सिंह को किसानों ने पकड़कर खूब पेला ।। किसान आंदोलन को बदनाम करने की हर संभव कोशिश सरकार द्वारा ।।)

The video was shared by Facebook page ‘Priyanka Gandhi – Future Of India’. It gained over 90,000 views.

 

किसान आंदोलन में शामिल होकर पाकिस्तान जिन्दाबाद के नारे लगाते भाजपा नेता उमेश सिंह को किसानों ने पकड़कर जूतों से मारा…

Posted by Priyanka Gandhi – Future Of India on Tuesday, 15 December 2020

It was also tweeted by @JagmohanKausha2 (archived link) and @Manglaram_INC (archived link) drawing 10,000 views cumulatively.

Similarly, the video was shared by multiple Facebook users. Alt News received several requests on our WhatsApp helpline number (+917600011160) and on our official Android application to authenticate the claim.

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Fact-check

We looked up ‘Umesh Singh’ on MyNeta, a government portal that lists information about candidates who have contested elections to State Assemblies, the Parliament and a few local bodies. As per MyNeta, no one by the name Umesh Singh has contested elections for BJP. However, it is pertinent to note that a person can be a party leader without contesting elections.

Bharat Samachar reporter Lokesh Rai who was present at the scene told Alt News. “Bharat Kisaan Union (BKU) held a protest at Ghaziabad-Delhi border. During my ground report, I learnt that BKU had assigned specific people to interact with the media in order to avoid controversies. The commotion started when Arun Kumar, representing the protest, gave a statement to the media criticising ‘Godi [paid] media’. Kumar, a resident of Delhi and owner of Vaishali Security Enterprises, was arrested by the Khoda Makanpur police station in Ghaziabad.”

If one closely listens, the crowd in the video can be heard saying, “Kaha se aaya hai?… Neta banna hai isko, neta? Bana isko neta…(Where has he come from? He wants to be a leader…let’s make him a leader.)” This suggests that the protestors assaulted a man who they think is not a part of the farmers’ protest and was posing as a leader. Furthermore, the mob cannot be heard accusing him of raising pro-Pakistan slogans.

Bharat Samachar had tweeted about this incident on December 14 identifying the man as Arun.

Speaking with Alt News, Station House Officer (SHO) Mohammad Aslam at Khoda Makanpur police station said, “Kumar was arrested after he got involved in a verbal confrontation with a journalist from Republic Bharat. No pro-Pakistan slogans were chanted. Protestors condoned this behaviour and eventually intervened. Kumar is not affiliated with a political party. He runs a business called Vaishali Security Enterprises.”

However, when asked if the police had investigated his political background, the SHO answered in the negative. Kumar’s social media accounts were also not probed to verify the same. Furthermore, we were unable to find any online references to a company named Vaishali Security Enterprises. When questioned about the same, SHO Aslam said, “We just noted what he said. We didn’t check where the said company is located.”

He shared a photograph of Kumar with Alt News and added, “No FIR was filed. Kumar’s case was registered under Section 151 in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 — Arrest to prevent the commission of cognizable offences.”

A search across MyNeta reveals that a man named Arun Kumar is a BJP leader from Nagrota Bagwan town in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh. Using the email ID mentioned on MyNeta, we performed a Google search and found a photo of BJP leader Arun Kumar on Himachal Pradesh Vidhan Sabha website. We compared this image with the photo shared by SHO Aslam. The two men are not the same.

It is to be noted that Alt News could not independently verify if Arun Kumar from the viral video is associated with the BJP or any other political party.

Thus, a video from Bharat Samachar bulletin was shared on social media with the false claim that BJP leader ‘Umesh Singh’ was beaten for chanting pro-Pakistan slogans. The man involved in the incident is Arun Kumar, a Delhi resident. Kumar was arrested by Khoda Makanpur police, Ghaziabad. As per SHO Mohammad Aslam, neither pro-Pakistan slogans were chanted nor the man arrested is linked with a political party.

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