Old, unrelated photograph of mob assault in West Bengal circulates as attack on Hindu women

A photograph with disturbing visuals accompanied by provocative text is currently circulating on social media. The Facebook page Ram Lalla Hum Ayenge Mandir Wahi Banayenge which has more than 560,000 followers has posted the following picture. According to the post, the Mamata Banerjee led TMC in West Bengal is persecuting the Hindu community in the state.

कट्टर हिन्दू इस पोस्ट को ज्यादा से ज्यादा शेयर एवं इस पेज को लाइक करें

Posted by राम लला हम आएंगे मंदिर वही बनाएंगे on Saturday, March 31, 2018

The text along with the picture says, “In West Bengal, TMC’s muslim politicians stripped our Hindu sisters and daughters naked and beat them mercilessly. Hindu girls were humiliated and their honour was publicly sullied. Slogans of Hindu Murdabad were chanted. Friends, please share this. What Hindus in Bengal are facing today, Hindus in the rest of India will face tomorrow” (translated). This message along the picture was posted on March 31 and has been shared more than 3600 times at the time of writing.

West Bengal has been rocked by violence after Ram Navami processions across the state turned violent leading to communal tension. The above image is being circulated at a time when the state is on the boil.

Is the claim true?

The claim that this brutality is the handiwork of Muslim political leaders of Trinamool Congress (TMC) is false. While the photograph is from West Bengal, it has nothing to do with the current tension in the state. In fact, it has nothing to do with religious communities. The photo was taken in 2014.

This news was reported in July 2014, and the incident had occurred near the village of Kaliabazar in West Bengal. A local ‘tantrik’ and two other men were thrashed by angry villagers after they were suspected of having raped and murdered a seven-year old girl. One of the persons had later succumbed to his injuries. The photograph was blurred out and a fake message was attached to it, which was subsequently shared on social media.

Alt News discovered that such rumours floating about on social media are not new, and that this same photograph has circulated earlier in 2015 and 2016 as well. In fact, Navbharat Times had published an article in April 2016 busting this false information.

Social media has of late been used as a catalyst to stir communal trouble in sensitive areas at key moments. With West Bengal remaining on the edge following the recent spurt in violence, such blatantly provocative and communal messages continue to keep the pot simmering and pose a challenge to efforts to maintain harmony and instill trust among citizens.

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