Posts about 'knife-wielding man in India's Uttar Pradesh' show video from different state

Copyright © AFP 2017-2023. All rights reserved.

Footage of police shooting a man with a knife at a market is circulating in Facebook and Twitter posts falsely claiming the incident happened in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh. The posts praise the state's chief minister and police for dealing with the man swiftly. However, police and media reports said the drama unfolded in Kalaburagi, a city in southern India's Karnataka state.

The graphic video, which shows a man wielding a knife before a crowd of onlookers, has more than 9,000 views in a Facebook post shared on February 17.

Police officers approach the man and appear to tell him to drop the weapon before shots are fired and they beat him with batons as he lies on the ground.

"Excellent. Abdul shot in Uttar Pradesh, the realm of Yogi Baba. He was issuing open threats in the market," the Hindi-language post says.

'Abdul' is a pejorative term for Muslims, who have complained of discrimination and harassment under India's Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government.

'Yogi Baba' refers to the BJP's Yogi Adityanath, who is chief minister of India's most populous state Uttar Pradesh.

The Gujarati-language Facebook post adds: "When will the Gujarat government do this? Gujarat police should learn from this."

Screenshot of a Facebook post sharing the misleading claim, taken on February 22, 2023

The same video was shared in similar posts on Facebook here and here and on Twitter here and here.

Social media users appeared to believe the footage showed an incident in Uttar Pradesh, praising the state government and the police for apprehending the man quickly.

Screenshot of comments on one of the misleading posts, taken on February 22, 2023

South India shooting

A keyword search on Google found a screenshot of the video in an article that said the incident happened in Karnataka.

Karnataka is a state in southern India, while Uttar Pradesh is in the north, bordering Nepal.

"Man Shot At By Police In Karnataka’s Kalaburagi After He Threatens Passersby With Knife," reads the headline of the report from February 6.

According to the report, police shot the man in the leg at a market in the city of Kalaburgi.

The report includes a tweet by journalist Imran Khan, who posted footage of the drama filmed from a slightly different angle.

"Shootout at #Kalaburagi #Karnataka," he wrote in the tweet posted on February 6.

Below is a screenshot comparison of the video shared in false posts (left) and the video posted by the journalist on Twitter (right), with the man in a black vest wielding a knife and police officers dressed in khaki uniforms highlighted by AFP:

Screenshot comparison of the video shared in false posts (left) and the video posted by the journalist on Twitter (right)

The Kalaburagi city police commissioner confirmed that the incident in the video took place in Kalaburagi.

"A man named Mohammed Fazal was waving a knife in front of the police in an open market, so had to open fire and catch him," he told AFP on February 21.

The incident was widely covered by media including The News Minute and Times Now.

February 27, 2023 This article was amended to correct the attribution of a news headline in the 12th paragraph.