Several social media users have posted a video that shows multiple people allegedly apprehending a man who kidnapped a minor girl in a suitcase.

Twitter users @iPSingh_CE, @Rana_Jasvir_007, @abufawaz24 were among those who shared the video. User Rana_Jasvir_007 posted this video as a reply and gained over 1,000 views.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Using CrowdTangle, a social media monitoring tool, we found that this video was posted by several Facebook pages and groups. For instance, it was posted on Madhubani Laukahi Live [over 50K likes], विश्व गुरु भारत [over 30K followers], Public live [30K followers] Congress Fight Back ! कृपया अपने 100 मित्रों को ईश ग्रुप मे जोड़ें [over 98K followers] and others.

We received over a dozen requests to verify this claim on our WhatsApp helpline number (+91 76000 11160).

Staged video

The usual techniques such as reverse image search, keyword search and rummaging the comments section didn’t give us any leads. However, in the third week of December, we had debunked a similar video and found that it was staged.

In the process of our research, we connected with Bhagwant Singh Rupal, a fact-checker at Punjab-based Rozana Spokesman. Rupal shared a YouTube video with us where a user claimed that a channel named ‘Bharti prank’ has made the clip and it is fake.

Using this as a clue, Rupal led us to the original video. It was posted by Facebook user Raju Bharti. This is a scripted video and has been shared with the caption, “This page features fictional videos; all characters appearing in the video are fictitious. The videos made are inspired by true events and are made with a motto to spread social awareness. We don’t mean to defame, disrespect any religion, caste, nationality, sex, gender or any individual in any manner.[sic]”. This video has over 20 million views.

The readers should note that the video itself doesn’t have any disclaimer.

Raju Bharti has posted multiple such prank videos. He can be spotted in them wearing a red cap. (1, 2, 3)

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Thus, a staged child kidnapping video was believed to be true on social media.

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About the Author

He joined as an intern in 2019. Until June 2022, his work primarily focused on fact-checking. Now his primary responsibilities include catalysing all aspects of organisational growth — from fundraising to development of new projects at Alt News. He attended the Asian College of Journalism (2015-16) and The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda (2012-2015). In past, he worked at The Hindu and Zee Media's WION.
Tipline Bling: archit@altnews.in