A 2:15-minute video is being widely shared on social media where people can be seen beating a person wearing a burqa. The person is being accused of entering a ladies toilet. Twitter user ‘@GalaxyAbhishek’ shared this video on August 8 along with the claim that a Muslim man wore a burqa and entered women’s washroom. This post has been viewed over 1,600 times (archive).[Translated from: देखें एक मुस्लिम #बुर्का पहन कर के लेडीज शौचालय में घुस गया और पकड़ा गया.]
— अभिषेक नारायण भारतवंशी 🇮🇳🚩 (@GalaxyAbhishek) August 8, 2020
Another user ‘@Being_Habibi’ posted the video on the same day and tauntingly remarked that “Abdul Puncturewala” disguised himself as a woman. This post was viewed more than 6,000 times (archive).
Phata burka aur nikla Abdul pincharwala 😉😂🤣 pic.twitter.com/Jo1wrF8Hdf
— Binod Caravaan 2.0 (@Being_Habibi) August 8, 2020
Facebook page ‘एक करोड़ मुसलमानो का पेज लाइक करे’ had shared a 3:44-minute long version of the same video on January 28. This page claimed that the burqa-clad person was affiliated to the RSS and was trying to defame Muslims. The post was viewed over 13 lakh times (archive). Apart from this, a few other users also made the same claim.
The same video was earlier uploaded on YouTube where it was claimed that the person is a BJP worker.
At the beginning of the video, a person can be heard saying “Panaji bus stand”. Based on this, we conducted a keyword search and found a Jansatta report published on February 16, 2019. As per the report, the incident happened at Panaji bus stand where a burqa-clad man, 35-year old Virgil Fernandes, entered a ladies toilet. Other travellers got suspicious and caught him when he got out of the toilet. They informed the police and a case under Section 419 was registered against him. In the report, Virgil Fernandes is said to be a government employee but his motive behind the act has not been mentioned.
An ANI article published on February 17, 2019, reported that a spokesperson of Goa Police confirmed that a case under Section 419 was registered against the culprit for wronfully impersonating a Muslim woman and entering a ladies toilet.
The story was also covered by a few other news outlets namely – Amar Ujala, Nai Duniya, NDTV, The New Indian Express and The Times of India. However, none of them reported that the person was affiliated with the BJP or RSS.
YouTube channel ‘ingoanews’ uploaded a 5-minute video of the whole incident on February 16, 2019. The channel uploaded another video on February 22, 2019, where ladies from the Samajik Sangathan Ranragini demanded strict punishment for Fernandes. Goa police told Boomlive in March 2019 that the accused was mentally unstable and undergoing treatment.
A video from February 2019 has resurfaced recently and is being shared with baseless claims. We found that the person in the video neither hails from the Muslim community nor is reported to be affiliated with any political outfits.
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