15.1 C
New York

Old assault video falsely linked to unrest in India’s West Bengal state

Published:

An old video of a man beating up a police officer has resurfaced in posts that falsely claimed the attacker was a politician from India’s West Bengal state. It was shared after protests erupted in February 2024 against sexual harassment and land grabs in West Bengal, which is controlled by the opposition Trinamool Congress party. The video, however, earlier circulated in news reports from October 2018 about an incident in Uttar Pradesh state involving a politician from India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

“Look at the condition of Bengal in India. Look at MLA Mansoor Mohammad Dimir,” reads part of the caption to a now-deleted video that was posted on social media platform X here on February 23, 2024.

“If this is the condition of police in uniform on duty, then what will be the condition of Bengali people.”

The 29-second clip shows a man hitting and insulting a police officer, who is knocked to the floor.

It was shared after protests erupted in Sandeshkhali, West Bengal demanding the arrests of members of the state’s ruling Trinamool Congress party for alleged sexual harassment and land grabs (archived link).

<span>Screenshot of the false X post, captured on February 22, 2024</span>

Screenshot of the false X post, captured on February 22, 2024

The clip was shared alongside similar claims elsewhere on Facebook here and on X here.

But AFP found no legislative assembly member called “Mansoor Mohammad Dimir” in West Bengal or any other state.

The clip is also old and unrelated to the unrest in West Bengal; it has in fact circulated in 2018 news reports about a politician from a different party in another state.

Assault in Uttar Pradesh

A reverse image search on Google using keyframes from the clip led to a longer version published in a news report by the Hindustan Times newspaper on October 20, 2018 (archived link).

The report’s headline reads, “Video shows BJP leader beating up police officer in Meerut restaurant, arrested”.

Meerut is a city in Uttar Pradesh state, more than 1,300 kilometres (800 miles) from Sandeshkhali (archived link).

According to the report, police said “an argument over delayed service at his restaurant turned violent”. The restaurant was run by BJP municipal councillor Manish Panwar and the footage shows him repeatedly slapping the police sub-inspector, the report said.

Panwar was arrested and the officer was suspended while an investigation was carried out.

According to a report published by local Hindi news outlet Amar Ujala on November 5, 2018, Panwar spent 13 days in jail and was released on bail (archived link).

The Times of India newspaper reported Panwar was found dead in his car in 2021 (archived link).

Below is a screenshot comparison of the clip used in the false post (left) and the video published by the Hindustan Times (right):

<span>Screenshot comparison of the clip used in the false post (left) and the video published by the Hindustan Times (right)</span>

Screenshot comparison of the clip used in the false post (left) and the video published by the Hindustan Times (right)

Footage of the incident was also embedded in reports by other local media here, here and here (archived links here, here and here).

As of February 26, 2024, there have been no reports of lawmakers in West Bengal assaulting police officers.

Related articles

Recent articles

spot_img