A truck in which several minor boys were travelling was intercepted by police in Maharashtra’s Kolhapur recently. A video of the boys — most of them wearing skullcaps — disembarking the truck in the presence of police is being shared on social media with some claiming that the kids illegally entered India from Bangladesh and some others claiming that they are Rohingya Muslims illegally migrating from Bangladesh to India.

Shivam Dixit, a Twitter Blue user, whose bio describes him as a deputy editor at RSS mouthpiece Panchjanya, shared the video on May 19 with a caption in Hindi that said, “In Kolhapur, Maharashtra, a truck carrying 63 Muslim children was intercepted by the police near Ruikar Colony at 2 pm today. All the children claimed to be from Bihar but railway tickets from West Bengal have been recovered from them. Now let me tell you that Rohingyas from Bangladesh are allowed to enter West Bengal and from there they are being transported across the country. What is the plan after all…?” The tweet has received over 1,22,000 views and has been retweeted over 2,000 times. (Archive)

Twitter user ‘Izlamic Terrorist’ (@raviagrawal3), posted the same video on May 18 saying: “Alerts🚨’What is the plan after All’..? 🤔Maharashtra Kolhapur: A truck carrying 63 Muslim children was caught near Ruikar Colony (Kolhapur) at 2 pm today. The children claimed to be from Bihar, but were found to have railway tickets to West Bengal.” The tweet has received over 2,70,000 views and has been retweeted 2,000 times. (Archive)

In the comments, one user asks @raviagrawal3 whether this is a case of child trafficking, to which @raviagrawal3 replied saying they are not children, they are terrorists.

Another Twitter user, @KumarSingh600, shared the same video on the same day with the following caption in Hindi: “Congress and secular parties will never allow India to be free from poverty and unemployment.
*63 Bangladeshis were caught in Kolhapur. This cannot be possible without the cooperation of any traitor, high-level investigation is very necessary in this matter”. The tweet has received over 17,000 views and has been retweeted 800 times. (Archive)

More such posts can be found on Twitter and Facebook where the video has been shared with the claim that the children are from Bangladesh or Rohingyas.

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Fact Check

Through a relevant keyword search in Hindi, we came across some reports and video coverage by news channels on the matter. According to an India TV report, the 63 Muslim children who were in the truck were from Bihar and they were going to Kolhapur, Maharashtra, to receive education in a Madrasa. The report also mentioned that the incident was from May 17 and that the police stopped the truck after some Hindutva organisations had expressed suspicion. Later, police found that all the children had their Aadhar cards with them that could confirm their identity. The Maulana from the madrasa was also contacted to confirm the matter and he provided the police with more information such as the children’s names, family details, etc.

We also came across a video report by IANS TV, the reporter mentions that initially, the police suspected it to be a case of child trafficking since the children had come from faraway places. But later, it was clear that they had come to study at a madrasa located in Kolhapur, Maharashtra.

Alt News reached out to the Kolhapur police to know the details of the case. An official said, “These children have been studying in a Madrasa at Ajara — a town in Kolhapur district — for some time and they had gone back to their homes on the Eid vacation. This time, while they were getting back to the Madrasa to resume their studies the issue was raised since they were all travelling in a truck.” The police personnel added that the children had been coming to Kolhapur for studies from Bihar’s two districts for quite some time now.

We also reached out to a policeman who was directly involved in the handling of the case. He informed us that the children had been handed over to the Kolhapur Child Welfare Committee (CWC). A source close to the developments told us that the boys were from Araria and Supaul districts of Bihar, and they had boarded a train from Howrah station in West Bengal to reach Pune, from where they travelled to Kolhapur.

A CWC Kolhapur member told Alt News, “The children are in our custody and they will be sent back to their homes in Bihar. We got in touch with CWC Bihar and their identities had been confirmed.” CWC also mentioned that the actual number of children that were present in the truck was 69.

Therefore, the claims that these children are illegal migrants from Bangladesh or belong to the Rohingya community who have illegally entered India are false. The children who can be seen in the video have travelled to Kolhapur from Bihar via West Bengal to receive education at a madrasa.

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