A video of a mob of Muslim men thrashing a man has been merged with another video of a man tied down and his throat slit with a sword. The merged videos are massively widespread on WhatsApp with the claim that Hindus were attacked by Muslims. Alt News has received several requests on its WhatsApp helpline number (+91 76000 11160) to fact-check the videos.
[Viral Hindi text: मित्रो, हिन्दू के बेटे हो तो और भारत मे जन्म लिया है तो,आपके जितने ग्रुप हो 10,20,30 के उससे भी ज्यादा तो उन सारे ग्रुप्स में इस मैसेज को शेयर करो ताकि कुछ दोगले हिंदुओ को असली भाई चारा समझ में आ जाए और इसको इतना फेलावो की मैसेज हमारे प्रधानमन्त्री श्री नरेन्द्र मोदीजी तक पहुच जाए।]
Below are a few frames of the merged videos. Alt News is not uploading them in this report due to the graphic nature of the second clip.
Both the videos pertain to different incidents and one of them is not from India. Alt News has debunked both in the past.
The first video of a Muslim mob thrashing a man was shared against the backdrop of the West Bengal elections earlier in May. The incident had taken place in Uttar Pradesh.
A lineman from Sikri, Muzaffarnagar district was indeed beaten up by some locals. According to a report published in Amar Ujala on May 5, 2021, Anuj went to Sikri to fix a fault in an electricity line. “One Salman from the village came with his brother Ayyaz and the duo asked Anuj to change their cable. Anuj denied doing the favour and asked them to present the order from the JE first. The accused allegedly called their friends Rafi, Khalid, Naaz, Aas Mohammed, Abid and one unnamed person and started abusing Anuj,” per the report.
The other two workers who came with Anuj managed to escape and informed the police. A complaint was subsequently registered against eight people. Amar Ujala also wrote about the video circulating on social media.
We also found that Muzaffarnagar police replied to a tweet that linked the incident to West Bengal violence. The tweet said that a case has been registered against seven accused and 10-12 unidentified persons at Bhopa police station.
थाना भोपा पुलिस द्वारा 07 नामजद व 10-12 अज्ञात अभियुक्तों के विरुद्ध सुसंगत धाराओं में अभियोग पंजीकृत किया गया है। अभियुक्तों की शीघ्र गिरफ्तारी की जाएगी, स्थानीय पुलिस द्वारा अन्य विधिक कार्यवाही की जा रही है।
— MUZAFFARNAGAR POLICE (@muzafarnagarpol) May 5, 2021
Alt News contacted Bhopa police station SHO Dheeraj Singh and he reiterated that a case has been lodged and investigation is underway. He further added that there is no communal angle to the incident.
This video was also claimed to be from West Bengal and linked to the post poll violence in the state.
We performed a reverse image search of the video’s stills on Yandex, which led us to a 2018 news report on news.com.au. The story dated February 6, 2018, says that the incident took place in Venezuela, a country in North America. The boy in the clip was kidnapped by a rival drug mafia gang and strangled to death at an unknown location. The gang filmed the incident and shared the footage online. The article also contains some frames from the video.
On February 6, 2018, Daily Mail also published a report on the incident. It stated that the boy was a victim of the dreaded ‘megabandas’ gang that formed in Venezuelan prisons. The group was said to specialise in kidnapping, extortion and murder. The clip first came to light after being published on news.com.au, which attributed the murder to a local gang. Crime expert and journalist Javier Ignacio Mallorca told media outlet Efecto Cocuyo in March 2017 that at least 19 such gangs were active in Venezuela.
The Sun also reported on the gruesome murder in February 2018. Stating that news.com.au first broke the story, it mentioned that the Venezuela prison system was one of the most violent in the world, with almost 6,500 murders committed in custody between 1999 and 2014. According to The Sun, the ‘megabandas’ gang was one of the largest in the area, operating alongside another syndicate known as the ‘Cartel of the Suns’. Together, they smuggled drugs from Colombia into the United States.
Two videos, one from Uttar Pradesh and the other from Venezuela, were merged to build the false narrative that both clips are related. While in the first, a Muslim mob did beat up a man, he wasn’t lynched. The second video shows a person’s brutal murder.