Around 37 lakh candidates registered for the Uttar Pradesh Preliminary Eligibility Test (UP PET) on October 15. Huge crowds gathered at railway stations in various cities of the state on Saturday to reach their respective centres. The trains were packed with aspirants jostling for space to stand. Several politicians, including Rahul Gandhi, highlighted the plight of the educated unemployed youth of the country.

Several candidates also took to social media to share the difficulties they faced on the day of the examination.

Soon after, videos of huge crowds at railway stations and inside trains began circulating on social media.

Video I

A video of a moving train overloaded with passengers has been shared widely. Passengers can be seen hanging onto the train from outside. Some can be seen sitting on the roof of the train as well.

User @rishabhpost tweeted this video with the caption, “The mass of aspirants of #UPPET is going to his examination centres from #Prayagraj. You can imagine the status of chaos. #UPPET2022″. (Archive)

Times Now used the aforementioned tweet in their report on the viral videos of thousands of UP PET aspirants travelling in overcrowded trains.

News 24 tweeted a compilation of the viral videos. The said video is played from the 0:11 mark. (Archive)

Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra also tweeted this video which she later deleted. However, we could procure a screenshot.

In a now-deleted tweet, reporter for Dainik Bhaskar Komal Nigam shared the video with the caption, “दिल दहलाने वाला वीडियो…ऐसे खतरा लेकर एग्जाम देने जाना सही नहीं है लेकिन मजबूरी क्या नहीं करवा ले। सरकार कुछ इंतजाम कर देती तो नजारा कुछ और होता…” (Translation: Heartbreaking video…it is not right to go for exams taking such risks, but they have no other way. If the government had made some arrangements, the view would have been different.)

Sumit Sharma, a journalist for Navbharat Times, also shared this video with the caption, “जान हथेली पर रखकर PET की परीक्षा देने जा रहे छात्र, जिम्मेदार कहते हैं बेरोजगारी कहां है… #ViralVideos #Prayagraj का बताया जा रहा है…#petexam”. (Archive)

The video is also viral on Facebook.

Video II

Another video of people dangerously latching onto two trains stationed side-by-side has been circulated widely. User @abhinaymaths tweeted this video with the caption, “यूपी में #UPPET2022 #petexam है सवाल यही है कि परीक्षा केंद्र इतने दूर देने की वजह क्या है क्या छात्र इस मनोदशा के साथ परीक्षा दे पाएंगे? जहां परीक्षा केंद्र तक पहुचना ही सबसे बड़ा संघर्ष हो कितने बच्चे तो अवागमन असुविधा खर्चा ज्यादा की वजह से ही नही जा पाएंगे । जिम्मेदार कौन?” (Translation: #UPPET2022 #petexam to be held in UP. The question is, what is the reason behind assigning the exam centre so far away? Will the students be able to take the exam in this mood? If reaching the examination centre is the biggest struggle, many children will not be able to go because of the inconvenience and cost of transportation. Who is responsible?) (Archive)

The official page of Rashtra Manch also tweeted the video with the same claim. (Archive)

Congress Leader Rahul Gandhi also shared the video in a now-deleted tweet.

The videos have been shared widely on Facebook as well.

Fact-Check

Video I

Upon reverse-image searching one of the key-frames of the video, we were led to a 2018 upload of the video on YouTube. The video is titled, “#train ये नज़ारा केवल पटना में ही देखने को मिलेगा”. (Translation: Such scenes can be seen only in Patna)

Additionally, the official handle of North Central Railway also fact-checked Congress general secretary Priyanka Vadra Gandhi’s tweet and called it unrelated to the 2022 PET.

Video II

The second video had already been debunked by Alt News in February 2021 when it had gone viral with the claim that this was a scene from Mumbai’s Borivali railway station after the Mumbai local train services were reopened to the general public from February 1, 2021.

Alt News performed a reverse image search of a still from the video, which led us to a YouTube video dated March 21, 2016. The title of the video indicated that the crowd was from Mumbai.

Therefore, a clip of a massive crowd boarding a Mumbai local train from at least six years ago was shared as visuals from the recent chaos preceding the UP PET.

Moreover, the official handle of Info Uttar Pradesh Fact Check has shared a fact-check of both of the videos and called them misleading. (Archive)

Hence, among the many viral videos of huge crowds gathered at railway stations and trains before the PET 2022, the two videos mentioned above are old and misleading. They are unrelated to the present context.

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About the Author

Student of Economics at Presidency University. Interested in misinformation.