Old, Debunked Videos Shared With False Claim of a Mob Lynching
A video from Muzaffarnagar and another one from Venezuela were shared as that of a mob lynching in India.
Two videos that have been previously debunked in the context of the West Bengal assembly elections, have been spliced together and shared with a new false claim that it shows a Muslim mob lynching a Hindu man.
We found that both the videos had been shared earlier this year with false claims and were debunked by the WebQoof team.
The first video was from Uttar Pradesh's Muzaffarnagar where a lineman was beaten up by locals over a dispute and the second clip showed disturbing visuals of a young boy being hacked to death in Venezuela.
The viral video was shared with the text that read, "मित्रो, हिन्दू के बेटे हो तो और भारत मे जन्म लिया है तो,आपके जितने ग्रुप हो 10,20,30 के उससे भी ज्यादा तो उन सारे ग्रुप्स में इस मैसेज को शेयर करो ताकि कुछ दोगले हिंदुओ को असली भाई चारा समझ में आ जाए और इसको इतना फेलावो की मैसेज हमारे प्रधानमन्त्री श्री नरेन्द्र मोदीजी तक पहुच जाए।"
[Translation: Friends, if you are the son of a Hindu and have been born in India, then share this message in 10, 20, 30 and more groups so that some hypocritical Hindus understand the real "brotherhood". Spread it so much that the message reaches our Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modiji.]
The first part of the video showed a crowd beating up a man and the logo of Sudarshan News could be seen. The second part of the viral video showed a young man, tied up and gagged, being hacked to death.
While some users claimed that the incident occurred in Delhi, another claimed that the video was from Chhattisgarh.
The claim was shared by users on Facebook and Twitter, and several users sent the video to us on our WhatsApp tipline.
What We Found Out
Both these videos have been debunked by The Quint's WebQoof team in the past. You can read a detailed explanation of the same in the subsequent parts of the story.
The first video showing a mob brutally thrashing a man was shared in May this year following the West Bengal assembly polls.
To check the claims shared with the video, we conducted a reverse image search of some of the keyframes and found the viral video on Twitter where it was mentioned that the incident took place in Muzaffarnagar.
While going through the tweets, we had found a response by Muzaffarnagar Police, who said, "A case has been registered against seven named and 10-12 unidentified people in Bhopal police station under relevant sections. The accused will soon be arrested and other legal actions are being taken by the local police."
Taking a cue from that, we had reached out to the Investigating Officer (IO) of the case, Sanjay Raghav.
Raghav informed us in May that the victim was a lineman called Anuj Kumar, who had gone to Sikri village to fix a faulty electrical line. A brawl broke between the residents and Anuj when he denied to repair a cable inside a residence without the electrical board’s junior engineer’s permission.
The report in Amar Ujala stated that the lineman was accompanied by two other linemen, Yogesh and Rehtu, who fled the scene and called the police for help. The report said that Anuj's clothes were ripped and he was left seriously injured.
The second video was also shared in context of the West Bengal Assembly Elections 2021 and was linked to the post-poll violence.
Users who shared the video claimed that it showed the situation of West Bengal after the Trinamool Congress was voted to power.
We used the InVID WeVerify Google Chrome extension to extract keyframes from the video. We then conducted a reverse image search on some of the keyframes, and found news reports that carried screenshots from the viral video.
A report in Guyana Times from 2018 said that the boy in the video was a Guyanese miner who was beheaded in Venezuela for demanding payment for his labour.
The screenshots were also found in news reports published in news.com.au and The Daily Mail, both published in 2018. The report in news.com.au also said that the incident occurred in Venezuela but said that the execution could be by a drug cartel.
"The boy killed with a machete is probably the victim of one of Venezuela’s “megabandas”," the report said.
The Quint was unable to independently ascertain the identity of the boy in the video.
Evidently, two unrelated videos – one from Uttar Pradesh and another from Venezuela – were stitched together to build a false story about the mob lynching of a Hindu man by a Muslim mob.
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