This is old footage of a man being attacked in another part of India over 'braid chopping' incidents

  • This article is more than one year old.
  • Published on August 28, 2019 at 09:45
  • 2 min read
  • By AFP India
A video has been viewed tens of thousands of times in multiple Facebook posts that claim that it shows a Muslim man being assaulted by a Hindu mob in the Indian state of Gujarat on July 21, 2019. The claim is false; this is a two-year old video shot in Rajasthan; police told AFP, and news reports said at the time, that the man was attacked on suspicion of his involvement in a spate of "braid chopping" incidents in which women’s hair was cut against their will.

The 40-second video was posted here in a Facebook post on July 22, 2019, and it has been viewed over 24,000 times since.

Translated from Hindi, the video’s caption reads: "Gujarat: Saffron terrorists thrashed a Muslim man after tying him with a rope yesterday at 3 PM. This incident took place Vadodara’s Ajwa Chokdi."

"Saffron" refers to Hindu devotees: saffron is an important colour in the religion. Ajwa Chokdi is a road in Vadodara, a city in the western Indian state of Gujarat.

Below is a screenshot of the misleading post:

Screenshot of misleading Facebook post

The video has also been shared elsewhere on Facebook with a similar claim, for example here, here, here and here.

But the video has been circulating online for more than two years and was actually filmed 900 kilometres (560 miles) northeast of Vadodara, in the northern state of Rajasthan.

A Google reverse image search using screenshots from the video led to this video report published on Indian TV channel News 18's website on August 5, 2017.

Below is a screenshot of the video report:

Screenshot of media report

The Hindi caption accompanying the report says: “A mentally-challenged man was tied with rope and beaten in the Kangana Ka Was village of Sikri area over allegation of his involvement in braid-chopping incidents. The police have arrested nine accused in the case.”

Sikri is a locale in Rajasthan’s Bharatpur district.

In 2017, in Kashmir and several states in northern India there were reports of women falling victim to attackers who chopped off their hair, for example here by AFP.

“Despite suggestions the cases may have been fabricated or fuelled by hysteria, the consequences have been all too real,” says the second paragraph of the report.

“One 70-year-old man has been killed by vigilantes since the alleged incidents started a month ago, and there are near-daily reports of groups attacking suspected so-called ‘braid-choppers’, the report continues.

AFP sent local police in Sikri screenshots from the video that appears in the misleading posts. Police then confirmed to AFP that the incident took place in their jurisdiction two years ago.

The attack took place in Kangna Ka Was village, Sikri Police Station officer Vivek Harsana told a journalist in AFP’s New Delhi bureau after reviewing screenshots of the video sent to him over WhatsApp.

Police claimed that although the victim in the attack was Muslim, he was not assaulted for religious reasons.

“There was no communal angle behind the assault of the man. He was targeted because of widespread rumours,” Harsana said.

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