An old video of a group of Muslims protesting in Assam is being shared on social media with the claim that it shows ‘Bangladeshi Muslims demanding a separate state’ for themselves. It shows the group getting into an altercation with the police, after which they are lathi-charged and dispersed.
However, we found that this video dates back to 2017 and shows Assamese Muslims protesting against the state accusing them of being ‘D’-voters or ‘Doubtful’ voters.
The claim along with the video reads:“परम आदरणीय असम के मुख्यमंत्री हिंदू हृदय सम्राट हेमंत विश्व शर्मा जी ने बांग्लादेशियों की तबीयत से ठुकाई करवाई। क्यों??? ये जानने के लिए वीडियो देखें”
[Translation: The most respected Chief Minister of Assam, King of Hindu Hearts, Hemanta Biswa Sarma Ji has let the Bangladeshis have it. Why? Watch the video to know.]
The Facebook post by Pankaj Khariwal had been viewed over 4,400 times at the time of writing the article. The Hindi title card of the video states: “Bangladeshi Muslims in Assam have demanded a separate state.”
WHAT WE FOUND
After dividing the video into multiple keyframes, we ran reverse image searches on each of them and found a YouTube video uploaded on 2 July 2017. Its description suggested that the incident occurred in Goalpara, Assam, where the “police resorted to lathi charged and indiscriminately fire on a peaceful protest by citizen who were demanding lifting of ‘doubtful citizen and voters tag’ imposed by the govt against many genuine Indian (sic).”
The protest was reportedly held against Muslims being allegedly harassed by the state by accusing them of being ‘D-voters’.
D-voter or doubtful voters are those people whose cases are pending with the foreigners’ tribunals or those who have been declared as foreigners by a tribunal.
Speaking to Scroll, Madani, a political activist, said that the protestors were raising slogans saying, “We will not tolerate harassment of Indian Muslim citizens – Inquilab Zindabad.”
According to police estimates, there were around 400-500 protestors who approached National Highway-37 at the southern tip of the Naranarayan Setu, a bridge over the Brahmaputra.
Further, Madani, a witness of the police action, told The Wire, “Around 100 people raising slogans to demand inclusion of genuine citizens in the NRC were stopped by the police near Naranarayan Setu. They asked the protesters for a permission letter to hold the agitation. CRPF personnel were also present. The aim of the protesters was to block the National Highway-37, which connects Goalpara to the neighbouring Bongaigaon district (and thereafter to West Bengal). The protesters had applied for permission, but it had not been granted by the police.”
Other videos showed police tearing off the banner and resorting to lathi charge “without much provocation”, The Wire report stated, adding that the police dispersed the protestors.
Clearly, an old video was shared to falsely claim that “Bangladeshi Muslims”are demanding their own separate state.