Old, unrelated video shared as brutality on Hindus in West Bengal

Several users on Twitter have shared a video of a man ruthlessly beating two men with a stick while a crowd of spectators encourages the violence. General Secretary of Vishwa Hindu Parishad Milind Parande claimed that the video depicts brutality against Hindus in West Bengal (archive).

[Disclaimer: The video is violent in nature. Viewer discretion is advised.]

The video he shared is circulating in the backdrop of communal violence in West Bengal’s Telinipara sparked after members of a community taunted another group as “corona”. Several shops were ransacked and the two groups also hurled bombs at each other. The police has so far arrested 129 people for the clashes. Parande’s tweet by quote-tweeted by ABVP member and VHP spokesperson Vijay Shankar Tiwari.

Twitter user Akash RSS shared the video and wrote, “The day Muslim population crosses 50% in India, this will be the condition of all Hindus,” he wrote (archive).

Akash RSS is ‘Akash Soni’. In a 2017 report, Alt News had investigated that he was the man behind a popular fake news website Coverage Times. Another report published in June 2018 revealed that he was one of the individuals running misinformation and propaganda Facebook page ‘BJP All India’. Soni was also found to be behind the targetted harassment of journalist Ravish Kumar through a WhatsApp group.

In fact, the clip is viral on Twitter. One Nitin Shukla added a ‘Rohingya angle’ to the claim. He wrote, “I repeat – Palghar wasn’t an accident but an experiment. After Sadhus, common citizens are being lynched. It is being said that this video is from Bengal. Rohingya are catching hold of local Hindus and breaking their arms and legs. Tomorrow, it will be your turn.” An archived version of his tweet can be accessed here.

[Also read: Palghar lynching incident falsely communalised on social media]

Fact-check

Splitting the video into multiple keyframes using InVid and reverse-searching one of them on Yandex led us to Bangladeshi pages which had shared the video earlier in April.

 

কি শুরু হলো বাংলাদেশে এইসব???

Posted by Abu Hossain on Saturday, 25 April 2020

Going through the comments section of the above post on the page ‘Abu Hossain’, we found people claiming that the incident is from Bangladesh where the men were beaten for stealing autos. In the video as well, we could hear the word ‘auto’ uttered by someone in the crowd. Using this as a clue, we searched videos on Facebook with Bengali keywords ‘অটো চুরি বাংলাদে’ which translates to ‘auto theft Bangladesh’. This redirected us to several posts from March 2019.

On March 24, 2019, Bangladeshi page ‘News media Bangla’ shared the video with the caption, “A thief was brutally beating for stealing an auto. Was it okay to thrash him in this manner? What do you think?”

[Translated from: অটো চুরির অপরাধে চোরকে ধরে বেদম মার- এমন মারা কি ঠিক হয়েছে ?? আপনার মতামত কি বলে???]

 

অটো চুরির অপরাধে চোরকে ধরে বেদম মার-
এমন মারা কি ঠিক হয়েছে ??
আপনার মতামত কি বলে???

Posted by News media bangla on Sunday, 24 March 2019

Another page ‘চঁ ন্দ্রা’ shared the video the next day and wrote, “Thief beaten for stealing auto.”

 

অটো চুরির অপরাধে চুরকে পিটুনি।

Posted by চঁ ন্দ্রা on Monday, 25 March 2019

While we were unable to locate any media reports, it is clear that the video is over a year old and cannot represent any recent incident from West Bengal.

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