A 30-second clip circulating on the Indian social media ecosystem – Twitter and Facebook – shows a person in a burqa allegedly drugging a child in public and placing the boy inside a rickshaw with the help of a rickshaw driver (wearing a red shirt). The clip is being shared with the caption, “Protect your child from such people.” (अपने बच्चों को ऐसे लोगों से सावधान रखिए)

Sudarshan News reporter Santosh Chauhan posted this clip. It has gained close to 3.5 lakh views. (archived link)

Facebook user Asis Dubey also posted this video and gained over 8,000 views.

अपने बच्चों को ऐसे लोगों से सावधान रखिए।

Posted by Asis Dubey on Saturday, 2 July 2022

Using the social media monitoring tool CrowdTangle, we found that the clip was shared by several right-wing Facebook pages and on various Facebook groups.

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Staged video, not from India

Alt News performed a keyframe analysis of the clip using InVid, a video and image verification browser plugin. We found a June 28 report by Masrawy, an Egypt-based Arabic news web portal. As per the report, the incident took place in Egypt’s Sohag, a city on the west bank of the Nile. However, this report does not mention when the alleged incident took place. The report states that the video is “fabricated” and authorities will take against four people.

We performed another keyframe search and found a higher-resolution video of the alleged incident. Dubai-based Al Arabiya, a verified YouTube channel, uploaded it on June 30. Besides the segments of the viral video, we can see a video statement by the man dressed in black and a man in a red t-shirt identical to the rickshaw driver seen in the viral video. There seem to be four people responsible for the video.

Alt News subsequently performed a reverse image search of the man in the burqa and was led to several other Arabic news reports that show all four men and their statements. (1, 2)

Alt News reached out to Egypt-based journalist Hossam Elhendy who revealed that the video is staged and was definitely shot in Egypt.

“While the red car’s license number isn’t readable, the design is identical to that of Egypt’s,” he said. Elhendy also shared a YouTube video that shows various car registration plates from Egypt.

Elhendy transcribed the burqa-clad man’s statement — “My name is Khalaf Abdel Rahim Abdel Aal. I live in the city of Gerga [Sohag governorate in southern Egypt]. I have two accounts on social media. I made a staged video that shows a boy being kidnapped after being drugged. I was wearing women’s clothes and had covered my face. My brother Ali was the tuk-tuk driver, and Ahmed Abbas and Hussein shot the video footage. I did this because I wanted the video to go viral so that I can make money from Facebook.”

Elhendy also shared a Facebook post by Egypt’s ‘Ministry of Interior’ that debunked this video. The post said that the video is fabricated and includes the statement transcribed above.

كشف ملابسات تداول مقطع فيديو مفبرك بمواقع التواصل الإجتماعى لإحدى المنتقبات تقوم بإختطاف طفل داخل مركبة “توك توك” عقب تخديره بوخز دبوس بكتفه بمعاونة آخرين.
بالفحص تبين أن الفيديو المشار إليه مفبرك .. عقب تقنين الإجراءات أمكن تحديد وضبط القائمين على الفيديو ، وتبين أنهم (4 أشخاص ، مقيمين بمحافظة #سوهاج “أحدهم إرتدى النقاب لإيهام مشاهدى مقطع الفيديو بأنه سيدة) وبمواجهتهم إعترفوا بأن الفيديو المشار إليه تم فبركته بأحد شوارع مدينة #جرجا بمحافظة سوهاج وأنه مشهد تمثيلى تم بثه على مواقع التواصل الإجتماعى بغرض تحقيق عائد مادى من خلال زيادة نسبة المشاهدة.
وتؤكد وزارة الداخلية على إتخاذ كافة الإجراءات القانونية ضد مروجى الأكاذيب والشائعات التى من شأنها إثارة البلبلة بكل حسم.
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الصفحة الرسمية لوزارة الداخلية على موقع إنستجرام :
https://www.instagram.com/moiegy

Posted by ‎الصفحة الرسمية لوزارة الداخلية‎ on Tuesday, 28 June 2022

To sum it up, a staged video of a child kidnapping in Egypt is viral on Indian social media with captions targeting the Muslim community. Four people were arrested by Egyptian authorities for creating the staged video.

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About the Author

Archit is a senior fact-checking journalist at Alt News. Previously, he has worked as a producer at WION and as a reporter at The Hindu. In addition to work experience in media, he has also worked as a fundraising and communication manager at S3IDF.