A massively widespread video compilation has been shared with the claim that Hindus have started retaliating in West Bengal. The state had witnessed violence soon after TMC emerged victorious in the recently-concluded assembly elections. While the violence was political, BJP members and supporters have been pushing misinformation to paint a communal picture. A Facebook page ‘Savarna Army’ shared the video, drawing over 5 lakh views.

It is also widespread on Twitter. Below is a tweet by Akash Kathik, state executive member of BJP SC Morcha.

Another BJP worker Mahesh Chouhan’s tweet drew close to 700 retweets.

The screenshot below shows the virality of the video on Facebook.

Old, unrelated videos stitched together

Alt News found that the video has used clips from old and unrelated incidents of violence from across the country to claim that Hindus have ‘retaliated’ in West Bengal.

Clip 1

The first clip represents a clash between Shiv Sena workers and Muslim community members in Phagwara, Punjab. The YouTube video below was uploaded in 2017.

We found the location where the incident took place by identifying two shops – Kapil Collection and Batra Watch Co – in the background on Google Maps.

The incident is from June 2016. “Shiv Sena leaders and Muslims clashed with each other at Phagwara…Sources said following the recent disruption of the Amarnath Yatra in Jammu and Kashmir, the Shiv Sena leaders had been targeting the local Muslims and raising anti-Pakistan slogans…Muslims protested against this attitude of the Shiv Sena and took out a march under the leadership of Uvais-ur- Rehman, the Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid of Phagwara. The Shiv Sena leaders, too, carried out a protest march, led by their state vice-president Inderjit Karwal,” reported The Indian Express on June 23, 2016.

Clip 2

Another video of a mob pelting stones at a mosque was uploaded on Facebook on June 5, 2015. The user has claimed that the incident took place in Karoli, UP.

 

हिंदुस्तान की तस्वीर उत्तर प्रदेश के करौली गाँव मे हिन्दू वादी के लोग मुस्लिम मस्जिद की तौर फोर पत्थर बाजी करते हुए
मुख्यमंत्री योगी आदित्य नाथ और प्रधान मंत्री नरेंद्र मोदी जी
क्या यही है सब का साथ सब का विकास
आखिर कब तक हिंदू मुस्लिम आपस में लरते रहेंगे

Posted by Mohd Sarfe Alam on Tuesday, 5 June 2018

The collage below shows that the mosque in both videos is the same.

Alt News could not corroborate the location however, this incident took place three years before the post-poll violence in West Bengal.

Clip 3

This clip was widely reported in media in March 2019. “Members of a Muslim family in Gurgaon’s Dhamaspur village and guests who had come to visit them were beaten with sticks and rods, allegedly by 20-25 men, who barged into their home and attacked them on Holi evening,” reported The Indian Express. The family alleged in their complaint that the accused told them to “go to Pakistan”.

India Today reported that three people Sunil, Dharmesh and Dhirendra were arrested in connection with the case.

Alt News was unable to identify two other clips in the video compilation. However, people are not wearing masks in the clips which suggests that they may be old as well. Since post-poll violence in West Bengal, several such unrelated videos have been circulated on social media. There has also been an organised attempt to project that the violence was communal in nature. However, ground reports from the state do not suggest a communal angle.

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