Video shows Assamese people in India protesting against their removal from electoral list in 2017

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A video has been shared in multiple Facebook posts in 2021 that claim it shows Bangladeshi Muslims in India’s northeastern Assam state calling for independence. The claim is false: the video shows a 2017 demonstration in Assam in which democracy protesters condemned the government for removing their names from the state electoral list.

The video was posted here on Facebook on June 8, 2021.

It shows a group of protesters on a street. The demonstration turns violent after the group is confronted by men in military uniform.

“Assam’s chief minister Himanta Sarma’s forces beating Bangladeshi Muslims. Why? Watch this video,” the Hindi-language caption reads. 

The text at the beginning of the video reads: “Bangladeshis Muslims in Assam demanding a separate nation.”

Himanta Biswas Sarma is the chief minister of India’s northeastern state of Assam

Assam, a state in India's northeast that neighbours Bangladesh, has long been a hotbed of ethnic tensions.

In August 2019, India released a citizens’ list excluding nearly two million people who were deemed as foreigners, AFP reported here.

An identical video was also shared alongside a similar claim here and here on Facebook.

However, the claim is false.

A reverse image search on Google found the video published here.

It was uploaded on a local Assamese news YouTube channel, Times of Dhubri, on July 2, 2017.

“Kharbuja, Goalpara district, ASSAM, INDIA when police resorted to lathi charge and indiscriminately fire on a peaceful protest by citizen who were demanding lifting of 'doubtful citizen and voters tag' imposed by the govt. against many genuine Indians,” the caption reads.

“The name of the deceased is Yakub Ali, age 22 years from Khutamari village under Kumri police station.”

The video was captured by social activist Ilias Rahman Sarkar, who uploaded it on Facebook on June 30, 2017.

He posted several videos from the same protest here and here on the same day.

The caption of his Facebook post in Assamese reads: “The Goalpara police and the Assam government, which shot dead a peaceful democratic activist, blocked National Highway 31 in Golakganj, Dhubri district, and demanded an investigation into the incident.”

Below is a screenshot comparison of the video in the misleading post (L) and the 2017 YouTube video (R)

The text on the banner reads as: “Local Assamese are asking for the removal of our names from the D voters list. The disenfranchised population should also be provided with government jobs. Protest held at National Highway 37 in Assam on June 30, 2017.”

"D-voters" or "doubtful voters" refers to people in Assam who are disenfranchised by the government because of their alleged lack of proper citizenship credentials, according to the Assam government website.

The protest turned violent in Assam's Goalpara, local media reported here and here. One person was shot dead, according to the reports.

Himanta Biswas Sharma was sworn in as the chief minister of Assam in May 2021.