A purported video of a Muslim man beating a temple priest with a bat is viral on social media.

On X (formerly Twitter), a user named राष्ट्रवादी अरुण शुक्ला (@rashtrawadi_aru) has shared the video with a caption in Hindi that can be translated as, “Video of a fanatic Muslim beating up a Hindu temple priest”. The clip has been viewed close to 4 Lakh times and retweeted over 2,000 times.

Back in March, Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha Delhi’s social media co-convenor Akanksha shared the video, claiming that the youths who beat up the priest in the video were Muslims. The tweet was later deleted. (Archived link)

A user named Saurabh Srivastava had also tweeted the video, claiming that the man who beat the priest was a fanatic Muslim. Along with this, the user urged others to share it widely on Twitter. (Archived link)

A user named Siyaram Akhand Hindu Rashtra also tweeted the video with the same claim. (Archived link)

Several other users also tweeted the viral video with the same claim.

Fact Check

Alt News performed a keyword search using terms related to the viral video. This led us to a Dainik Bhaskar report dated November 6, 2020. According to the article, youths in Dhabi Kalan village in Fatehabad district of Haryana had assaulted a temple priest for refusing to keep cricket bats in a temple, after which the police arrested the accused. It is worth noting that there was no mention of any communal angle in the incident.

We also found another Dainik Jagran report dated November 6, 2020 covering the incident. According to the report, the accused youths attacked the priest and injured him. Upon hearing the commotion, the people around managed to rescue the priest. Four youths (Amit, Krishna, Pradeep, Rakesh) were arrested. This confirms that the attackers did not belong to the Muslim community.

We also received a copy of the FIR registered by the Haryana Police on November 3, 2020 in the case against the three accused (Amit, Krishna, Pradeep).

Alt News spoke to Nihal Singh, at present an ASI at Bhattu Kalan police station, who had lodged the complaint. He told us that the investigation was being done by sub-inspector Mahendra Singh, who had since been transferred to another police station. When we contacted Mahendra Singh, he told us that the priest was beaten up by the youths for refusing to keep the bat in the temple. Since no complaint was filed by either the victim or the accused and the FIR does not mention the reason for the incident, Alt News cannot confirm what led to the attack. However, it is evident that the accused are not Muslims and there is no communal angle to this.

We also found some old reports related to this video, according to which the priest was thrashed by people who alleged he was sending obscene messages to a village girl via mobile. This was also mentioned in a News18 report covering the incident on November 3, 2020.

A YouTube channel named Khabrain Abhi Tak also covered the incident in a November 4, 2020 video. In this, the priest was accused of talking obscenely on the phone with a girl. In this report, DSP Shubhash Chandra, while mentioning this matter, talked about an audio going viral. However, Alt News cannot independently verify the viral audio. But it is certain that the accused in this case are not from the Muslim community and there is no communal angle to this incident.

Overall, several social media users falsely shared an old video of a temple priest being beaten up by youths from village Dhabi Kalan in Haryana’s Fatehabad district with a communal angle.

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About the Author

Abhishek is a senior fact-checking journalist and researcher at Alt News. He has a keen interest in information verification and technology. He is always eager to learn new skills, explore new OSINT tools and techniques. Prior to joining Alt News, he worked in the field of content development and analysis with a major focus on Search Engine Optimization (SEO).