This video was filmed in Rajasthan state -- police say it shows an incident with no religious angle
Footage of a brutal assault has been viewed thousands of times on Facebook and Twitter alongside a claim it shows Muslims attacking Hindus in India's northern Uttar Pradesh state. The posts allege the incident occurred in India's mega-state after a Muslim politician narrowly won against a candidate from the ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party in locals polls in March. However, the clip was filmed in the western state of Rajasthan -- not Uttar Pradesh. News reports state the incident shows a street fight and local police told AFP it had no communal angle.
Warning: violent footage
The video was shared here on Facebook on March 23, 2022.
The post's Hindi-language caption translates as: "Look at their courage after a Muslim won elections in Bareilly. They cornered and assaulted the people who had returned after celebrating Holi. Make sure this video reaches Yogiji so these [Muslims] could be controlled."
Ataurrehman, a Muslim candidate from the opposition Samajwadi Party, narrowly won against a candidate for the ruling BJP in March 2022 local polls in Uttar Pradesh's Bareilly district.
But Yogi Adityanath -- referred to in the post as Yogiji -- retained power in parliament in India's most populous state in a triumph for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ruling party.
A firebrand monk and poster boy of Hindu nationalism, Adityanath campaigned against "anti-nationals" -- seen as a euphemism for Muslims who make up around one-fifth of Uttar Pradesh's population.
Holi refers to the annual spring festival that was celebrated by Hindus on March 18, 2022.
The video was viewed more than 10,000 times alongside a similar claim on Facebook here and on Twitter here and here.
However, the claim is false.
Filmed in Rajasthan
The video was in fact filmed in the western Indian state of Rajasthan -- not Uttar Pradesh, as the posts claim.
A reverse image search on Google using keyframes from the video found the footage was published by local media News18 Rajasthan here on YouTube on March 17, 2022.
The report states in part: "In Jaipur, a 22-year-old youth was beaten to death on the road. The hotel employee kept on beating the young man until he died. The hotel staff also beat up the friends who came to the rescue of the young man."
Jaipur is the capital of Rajasthan.
Hindi news websites Dainik Bhaskar and Dainik Jagran also published reports about the attack on March 16, 2022.
Below is a screenshot comparison of the video in the false post (left) and the News18 Rajasthan report (right):
An analysis of the video shows it corresponds to this photo geotagged in Jaipur on Google Maps.
Below is a screenshot comparison with the similar elements highlighted:
'No communal angle'
Local police in Rajasthan also refuted the claims made about the video.
"All accused have been arrested, no communal angle was involved in the incident as both the victim and accused belong to Hindu community," an assistant commissioner of the Rajasthan police, Alok Kumar Saini, told AFP.
"The incident has nothing to do with the festival of Holi," he added.
Local police in Uttar Pradesh police also refuted the claim here on Twitter on March 21, 2022.
Uttar Pradesh police said: "Viral video is not related to Uttar Pradesh but to the police station Vaishali Nagar, District Jaipur, Rajasthan.
"The misleading post has been denied by the Bareilly police. Please don't spread rumors by posting misleading posts without verification."