[Disclaimer: Violent video. Viewer discretion is advised.]

On March 10, Aam Aadmi Party’s landslide win in Punjab was one of the key takeaways from the 2022 Vidhan Sabha elections. Chief Minister-designate Bhagwant Mann will take the oath on March 16.

After the poll results were announced, Naveen Kumar Jindal, BJP Delhi’s Media Head, posted a clip that shows a group of men attacking a man on a highway. One of the people in the mob also hits the man with a rock, after which the attackers flee. In the clip, we can hear the attackers speaking in Punjabi. Jindal tweeted, “Goonda raj has begun in Punjab.” This video has gained over 15,000 views.

Facebook user Tikal Pandit shared this video on March 13 and wrote, “Goonda raj has begun in Punjab… This is just the beginning. [This happened] with an RTO officer. Kejriwal and Bhagwant Mann’s goons play with blood. This video is from today in Punjab… He hasn’t even taken the oath yet… Drunkard Bhagwant Mann has done this to Punjab.” His post has gained about 2,000 shares.

Multiple Facebook and Twitter users (1, 2) have shared this clip, including pro-government Facebook pages such as ‘सम्राट धना भारती जी के दीवाने‘ (over 2 lakh followers). To view the list of accounts that shared this video, click here.

Video verification

We connected with Bhagwant Singh Rupal, a fact-checker at Punjab-based Rozana Spokesman. He found that several people posted this clip on March 10 along with the following Punjabi text ‘ਪੰਜਾਬ RTO ਪਠਾਨਕੋਟ ਵਿੱਚ RTO ਨਾਲ ਲੜਾਈ’ that roughly translates to – “Fight with RTO in Punjab RTO Pathankot”.

Alt News performed a keyword search on CrowdTangle and found that one of the first pages to share the clip with this caption was ‘Indian truck driver‘.

We spoke with multiple Punjab-based journalists. One of them, who requested anonymity, told Alt News, “I enquired with concerned police officials in Pathankot. They informed me that the incident took place in Hajipur in Punjab’s Hoshiarpur district.”

The said journalist connected us with SHO Pankaj Sharma at Hajipur Police Station. Over a telephonic call, Sharma said, “This video is being shared with a false claim on social media. It is not from Pathankot but from Hajipur. The incident took place around March 5 on Puliya Road. Two days later, we had filed an FIR. As of today, four people have been arrested. As for the victim, he has survived the attack.”

Rupal accessed the FIR from Hajipur Police Station. The complaint has been filed by Surinder Singh, son of Ravi Kumar, resident of Hinrakhedi police station, Chandpur district, Bijnor, UP. According to the FIR, Surinder Singh was passing Kulliyan Lubana village in a Bolero when he was attacked by Diljit Singh alias Kala, son of Milkha Singh, resident of Mahmudpur, Batala police station in Mukeriya. Diljit was in an Innova with some other men and the group assaulted Surinder. They also vandalised his car. One of them hit him on the back of his head with a stone and he fell unconscious in a field.

In addition to Diljit, the FIR names Ajay Kumar, Banty, Shanty and 5 unknown persons as accused. They are charged under IPC sections 307 [Attempt to murder], 323 [Punishment for voluntarily causing hurt], 324 [Voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons], 427 [ Mischief causing damage to the amount of fifty rupees], 148 [Rioting, armed with deadly weapon], 149 [Every member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common object], and 506 [Punishment for criminal intimidation].

Alt News also spoke to Surinder Singh with the help of Rupal. He told Alt News, “I work as a security supervisor at a mining company. I got this job four months ago. My duty is to check for invoices of all vehicles transiting via our premises. The attackers didn’t have the said document. This led to a heated argument and eventually escalated to a fight.” When asked if the fight was because of political reasons, Surinder said it wasn’t.

A video of a group of men assaulting a man in Punjab’s Hajipur was shared on social media with the false claim that it happened after AAP won the assembly elections. Both Punjab police and the victim have refuted the claim that the fight was because of political differences. Moreover, the election results were announced on March 10 while the incident in question took place on March 5.

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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.