Fact-Check: 2021 Video From Etawah Falsely Linked to Recent Violence in Kanpur
The video dates back to 2021 and shows police responding to violence during Panchayat Block elections in Etawah, UP.
The Quint DAILY
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A video showing police personnel dressed in riot gear, where one of the officers speaks over the phone, is being widely shared on social media platforms.
The police official says, "They have stones and bricks, they've hit me with stones too, sir. These BJP people had brought bombs too, the MLA and district president. Vimal Bhadauria was with them."
The video is being shared to claim that it was taken during the recent violence in Uttar Pradesh's Kanpur, where violence broke out in parts of the city when some people tried to force shopkeepers to bring down shutters to protest against former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson Nupur Sharma's inflammatory remarks against Prophet Muhammad.
However, this video is not linked to the recent violence. It dates back to 2021 and shows violence during Etawah's Panchayat polls.
The police official in the video was identified as former Additional Superintendent of Police (City) Prashant Kumar Prasad, who confirmed to The Quint that the claim was old.
The video is being shared to claim that it was taken during the recent violence that broke out over ex-BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma's remarks against Prophet Muhammad, and showed the BJP's involvement in the violence.
WHAT WE FOUND OUT
Using InVid, a video verification tool, we divided the video into multiple frames and ran reverse images searches on some of them. Russian search engine Yandex returned a clearer version of the video on YouTube, published on 11 July 2021.
Its caption referred to the person in the video as Etawah Superintendent of Police (City).
We saw that the police barricade visible in the background reads 'Zilla - Etawah'.
Next, we looked up 'Etawah violence 2021' on Google, and came across a news report by The Indian Express, which discussed violence across 18 districts in Uttar Pradesh during elections for Panchayat Block chiefs, including Etawah.
It mentioned the video in question, which identified the police personnel in the video as ASP Prashant Kumar Prasad.
We also found a video report on digital news organisation Mojo Story's verified YouTube channel, which carried the video in question. Its description mentioned that the incident occurred during the counting of votes of the Block chief elections.
The Quint reached out to Prasad, who is now superintendent (crime) of Muzaffarnagar police, who categorically denied the claim, saying that the video was an old one and was not related to the recent violence in Kanpur.
A July 2021 report by The Quint mentioned that an FIR had been registered against BJP leader Vimal Bhadauria and 125 unidentified people for allegedly attacking police personnel during Panchayat polls on 10 July, 2021.
The article further said that the report was filed by Barhpura Station House Officer (SHO) Jitendra Kumar Sharma, whose complaint stated that Bhadauria was leading over 100 people towards the polling station and did not listen to the police when asked to stop.
WHAT HAPPENED IN KANPUR?
Violence erupted across parts of Kanpur on 3 June after Friday prayers, after some people attempted to shut shops in protest against suspended BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma over controversial remarks on Prophet Muhammad.
The Uttar Pradesh police arrested a total of 50 people in connection to the violence, including prime accused Hayat Zafar Hashmi, who has been named the "mastermind" and perpetrator in the case.
Similar protests were held across the country, with shots being fired in Ranchi, Jharkhand and a BJP office being set ablaze in West Bengal's Howrah. You can watch our video report here.
Clearly, a 2021 video of violence during Panchayat Block chief elections in Uttar Pradesh's Etawah is being falsely linked to the recent violence in Kanpur.
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