A video of a group of kanwariyas (Kanwar Yatra devotees) beating up a person sitting in a car has been doing the rounds on social media. Later, the Kanwariyas are seen vandalizing the vehicle and overturning it. A woman wearing a burqa is also seen getting down from the car. A slew of news outlets and social media users have claimed the kanwariyas were attacking a Muslim couple. Others also shared it with a communal angle.

Sagar Kumar of Sudarshan News tweeted this video and claimed that kanwariyas hit back after a Muslim couple’s car hit a crowd of kanwariyas. (Archived link)

Several news outlets such as The Quint, Zee Salaam, and Time8 claimed that a group of kanwariyas had thrashed a Muslim man driving a vehicle and overturned his car in Haridwar, Uttarakhand. Similarly, Journo Mirror, Aasif Mujtaba, Jagdish Solanki also tweeted the video claiming that the man driving the car was a Muslim and the kanwariyas had beaten up a Muslim family.

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Fact Check

First, Alt News spoke to Uttarakhand Police regarding this matter. We came to know that the incident was reported from the Mangalur police station area of Haridwar. We spoke to the SHO of Mangalur police station to gather more details. He said that there was no communal angle in this matter. He identified the person driving the car as Pratap Singh who was not a Muslim.

We also found that Haridwar SSP Ajay Singh had issued a video statement clarifying that the incident was being falsely given a communal angle. He confirmed that both the parties in the case were Hindus. The man in the car was identified as Pratap Singh, a local resident. His car hit and damaged a ‘Kanwar’, following which the kanwariyas present there vandalised his car. A case was registered in the matter by Pratap Singh. Furthermore, two people had also been arrested from the spot.

The registration number of the car is visible in one frame of the video. We searched the vehicle’s registration number on the CarInfo app and found that it was registered under the name of Pratap Singh.

Alt News Spoke to the Victim

Alt News spoke to Pratap Singh, the victim in this case. He said that he was coming from Roorkee and had stopped at Mandi to have food, and had ordered food in the car itself. When he had parked the car, there was nothing in front of it and that place was empty. In the meantime, a kanwariya had left his kanwar in front of Singh’s car which he did not see. As soon as he drove forward, his car ran over the kanwar. He then reversed the car. Upon seeing this, a group of kanwariyas gathered and tried to pull them out of the vehicle and snatch the key. The kanwariyas alleged that they spilled the water inside the kanwar, to which Pratap responded, ‘I did not do anything intentionally and I will fetch you water too’.

Further, he stated when the kanwariyas noticed a Muslim woman was with him in the car. They said ‘Kill her, she is a Muslim’. Singh said that he was the senior district vice-president of BJP Haridwar. Since he is associated with the RSS and the BJP, he wore the cap of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). He said that he tried his best to explain to the people and also apologised with folded hands, but they were in no mood to listen to him. A group of people gathered and started saying ‘Kill him, he is a Muslim’. Following this, the group manhandled Singh and destroyed his car. A local man dropped him on his bike to the police station. He explained that the woman seen in the burqa in the video was a BJP official as well. He also requested us not to release the woman’s name.

To sum it up, several news outlets and social media users shared a video of a car driver being assaulted by kanwariyas in Haridwar’s Mangalur area, claiming that a Muslim couple was attacked because they had rammed their car into crowd of pilgrims. In reality, the man seen in the video inside the vehicle was Pratap Singh, a Hindu.

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About the Author

Abhishek is a senior fact-checking journalist and researcher at Alt News. He has a keen interest in information verification and technology. He is always eager to learn new skills, explore new OSINT tools and techniques. Prior to joining Alt News, he worked in the field of content development and analysis with a major focus on Search Engine Optimization (SEO).