Old Video From Manipur Shared as Poll Violence in WB’s Cooch Behar

We found that the video was actually form a 2019 incident that occurred at a polling station in Manipur.

Updated
WebQoof
3 min read
Fact-Check of West Bengal Assembly Elections | We found that the video was actually form a 2019 incident that occurred at a polling station in Manipur.
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The video clip of a crowd barging into a building has been shared by people on social media with a false claim that it shows people storming into a polling booth in West Bengal’s Cooch Behar during the fourth phase of voting.

The viral claim comes after at least four people died as central forces opened fire after coming under attack in Sitalkuchi in the Cooch Behar district.

However, we found that the video, which dates back to 2019, was from Kyamgei Muslim Makha Leikai polling station in Manipur. As per news reports, angry voters stormed into the polling booth and destroyed the Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) and Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machines following allegations of EVM malfunction.

CLAIM

One of the tweets with the viral video had a caption that read, “Mamata Banerjee's supporters mob storming a polling booth in coochbihar, West Bengal. EXCELLENT job done by the CRPF in pushing away the goon. [sic]”

An archive of the post can be found <a href="https://perma.cc/5N9L-F2YW">here</a>.
An archive of the post can be found here.
(Source: Facebook/Screenshot)

“#WestBengalPolls” was also used in the tweets carrying this video. Some of the tweets can be found archived here, here, and here.

The video was also shared by many people on Facebook, archives of which can be found here and here.

WHAT WE FOUND

Using the InVID Google Chrome Extension, we extracted keyframes from the viral video and ran a reverse image search on some of the frames. While going through the search results, we came across a tweet posted by East Mojo, a mobile-first digital news platform from Northeast India.

The tweets posted on 18 April 2019 said that the footage was from Manipur, where voters stormed into a polling booth and destroyed EVMs and VVPAT machines following alleged EVM malfunction. The location of the incident was specified as 6/10 Kyamgei Muslim Makha Leikai.

We looked up the incident on Google and found a report by PTI published in Business Standard.

According to the report, “In one of the booths at Kiyamgei Muslim Makha locality in Imphal East district, unidentified men stormed into a polling station around 11.30 am and broke EVMs and VVPATs, claiming that “proxy voting” was being carried out in the station, Chief Electoral Officer PK Singh told PTI.”

“It was only after the security personnel opened fire in the air, the mob dispersed,” the report added quoting Singh. The incident was also reported by Firstpost and The New Indian Express, both of whom carried the viral video.

Evidently, a video clip from the 2019 general elections was shared with a false claim that it shows the violence that took place in West Bengal’s Cooch Behar during the fourth phase of the ongoing Assembly elections.

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