A video showing police personnel using force to pick up protestors has gone viral on social media with a claim that it showed a crackdown on hijab-clad protestors by the West Bengal police.
The claim comes in the backdrop of a row that erupted in Karnataka in December 2021, when the Government Girls Pre-University College in Udupi barred six Muslim girls from entering classroom while wearing hijabs.
This led to protests being organised in different parts of the country in support of wearing hijab in classrooms.
The viral video, however, was not from one of the protests. It showed the Karnataka police lathi-charging students and activists protesting against the National Education Police (NEP) in Bengaluru in September 2021.
The 21-second video was shared with a caption that said, "This is @MahuaMoitra and @MamataOfficial video of Murshidabad district of Bengal. Earlier girls were prevented from going to college in hijab and burqa. When the girls protested, the police behaved in a brutal manner."
WHAT WE FOUND OUT
While going through the video, at the 0.08 second mark, we notice the word "NEP" written on a poster which had some text in Kannada.
Taking a cue from this, we conducted a keyword search for "Karnataka police attacking NEP protestors" and checked the 'images' and 'videos' tabs. While going through the results, we came across a still, same as the viral video posted on a website called "Sahil Online" on 15 September 2021.
The headline of the article said, "Bengaluru: Police resort to mild lathi-charge on students protesting against NEP".
We also found the viral video on Sahil Online's YouTube channel, which was also posted on 15 September 2021.
We then looked for news reports on the incident and found reports talking about the students and activists being baton-charged by police when they tried to enter the Vidhana Soudha to protest against the NEP.
The protests were organised by Campus Front of India (CFI). Visuals of the protests and the subsequent baton-charge were shared by news organisations.
The row over wearing hijab in classrooms began in December 2021, two months after the viral video was first posted on the internet.
We also didn't find any news report talking about the West Bengal police attacking pro-hijab protestors in Murshidabad.
We did find a news report talking about how some local villagers attacked a school in Murshidabad after the headmaster of the school asked students to wear the school uniform instead of burqas.
According to the news reports, police had to use lathi-charge to disperse the crowd.
It is clear that a video from Bengaluru was shared as West Bengal police lathi-charging a group of pro-hijab protestors.