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Old video of woman being attacked resurfaces with false ‘India caste violence’ claim

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Members of India’s Dalit community have been frequently targeted with violence in the Hindu-majority nation but a graphic video claimed to show one such attack in northern Uttar Pradesh state had actually been misrepresented. Multiple news reports in 2021 said the clip was filmed in central Madhya Pradesh state, and local police told AFP the incident involved a dispute among family members.

Warning: Graphic visuals

Dalit girl bathed in a river in Uttar Pradesh; Hindu hardliners harassed the girl for spoiling the purity of the river,” reads part of the Hindi-language caption to the video shared on Facebook on February 1, 2024.

Members of the Dalit community — the lowest rung in India’s caste system — were once subject to the discriminatory practice of “untouchability” and have long faced violence and abuse.

A belief in so-called upper-caste purity — enforced through religious rituals, food habits and segregationist practices — has long been central to the nation’s main religion Hinduism.

The 43-second clip shared in the post shows a group of men viciously attacking a woman using sticks while bystanders watch.

“This is the rule of Yogi,” part of the video’s caption in English further says, referring to hardline Hindu monk and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.

<span>Screenshot of the false post, taken on February 2, 2024</span>

Screenshot of the false post, taken on February 2, 2024

The video was also shared with a similar claim elsewhere on Facebook and on social media platform X.

Family dispute

A combination of reverse image and keyword searches, however, found the same video published in a report by English news channel NDTV on July 4, 2021 (archived link).

The report says the incident happened in Madhya Pradesh.

Two women, one of whom is seen in the clip circulating online, were “tortured in full public view by their family members”, it added.

The Times of India newspaper said the women were attacked by their kin “merely for talking to their cousins over (the) phone” (archived link).

Other Indian news outlets here and here also reported on the incident (archived links, here and here).

The reports say the assault was filmed in Pipalwa village in Madhya Pradesh’s Dhar district (archived link).

Below is a screenshot comparison of the video shared in false posts (left) and the video published by NDTV (right):

<span>Screenshot comparison of the video shared in false posts (left) and the video published by NDTV (right)</span>

Screenshot comparison of the video shared in false posts (left) and the video published by NDTV (right)

Manoj Kumar Singh, police superintendent in Dhar district, refuted claims linking the video to caste violence.

“People of the same family were involved in the incident. All the accused were arrested by the police at that time along with the girl’s mother and brother,” Singh told AFP.

“This case is still pending in the court and all the accused are out on interim bail,” he said.

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