This video is unrelated to ongoing West Bengal polls -- it was filmed in a different Indian state in 2019

Copyright AFP 2017-2021. All rights reserved.

A video has been viewed thousands of times on Facebook and Twitter, alongside a claim that it shows a mob storming a polling station during elections in India’s West Bengal state in 2021. But this claim is false: the video has circulated online in unrelated news reports since 2019 about poll violence that happened in a different Indian state.

The video has been viewed more than 3,000 times after it was shared on Facebook on April 13, 2021.

Its caption states in part: “Mamata Banerjee's supporters mob storming a polling booth in coochbihar [sic], West Bengal.”

The video circulated amid ongoing legislative elections in the eastern Indian state, where incumbent leader Mamata Banerjee looks to fend off a challenge from the country’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.

Cooch Behar, misspelled “coochbihar” in the video’s caption, is a district in West Bengal.

Screenshot of the misleading Facebook post taken on April 15, 2021

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

However, the claim is false.

Old video

A reverse image search of the video’s keyframes extracted using InVID-WeVerify, a digital verification tool, combined with keyword searches, found the video predates the 2021 West Bengal elections by two years.

An identical video was published on April 18, 2019 on the verified YouTube channel of local media India Today.

The India Today video was captioned: “Polling in Kyamgei Muslim Makha Leikai area of Imphal East was disrupted after people stormed the polling station and destroyed EVM.”

EVM is an abbreviation for Electronic Voting Machine.

Below shows screenshot comparisons of the video in the misleading posts (L) and the India Today video (R):

Image comparing screenshots

The video was also shared on the YouTube channel of The New Indian Express on April 18, 2019.

The poll disruption incident shown in the video was covered by local media organisations NDTV and EastMojo on the same day.

Not West Bengal

The video was not filmed in Cooch Behar district in West Bengal, as the misleading posts allege.

The video’s 54-second mark shows a building with a sign that reads in part: “Kiyamgei.”

Screenshot of the video in the misleading posts, with the name of the building circled

The name corresponds to this location on Google Maps in the state of Manipur, more than 700 kilometers away from Cooch Behar in West Bengal.

This story has been published as part of the Ekta News Coalition, a collaboration of six fact-checking organisations in India.