We live in a time where social media is all-pervasive in our lives. We look to social media for information, knowledge, learning, opinion, advice, and often guidance.
However, there is a dark side of social media that is not just impacting our lives but also taking it. It’s a trend that needs to be called out, exposed, and the culprits booked.
The intent behind these fake videos is to provoke people into a violent reaction against a particular individual, group or community. The originator has malicious intent, but we, the citizens of India, are propagating the video by forwarding the same without applying our mind and heart to it.
Imagine for a moment, as you read this, a mob arrives at your house and begins attacking members of your family and burning down your home before you can realize who, what, or why these people did what they did?
To know how dangerous these videos are, let’s take a look at some of the recent videos circulating on social media related to the CAA protests and have contributed towards fueling passions.
Fake Videos And Communal Tension:
Bus driver beaten up by Muslim man
On February 25, a day after the first riots in north-east Delhi, a video began doing the rounds of social media. Among those circulating was one by Aviral Sharma through his Twitter handle @sharmaAvi. He claimed people from the Muslim community were attacking a bus driver in the Maujpur area of northeast Delhi, where his relatives lived and that they were living in fear of violence. The attached video shows a person wearing a skull cap attacking a bus driver in a khaki uniform with a stick. The video quickly garnered over one lakh views.
A fact check revealed, the incident occurred on February 18 in Kannad, Aurangabad district in Maharashtra, wherein a bus hit a car resulting in its occupants coming out and beating up the driver. It was a case of road rage rather than any communal instigation. The bus driver, in his report, confirmed it was an outcome of an accident.
On a day and time when tensions were already running high between pro and anti-CAA supporters, the video watched by over one lakh persons could not have helped the situation, only worsen it.
Jafrabad shooter seen with BJP leader Kapil Mishra
The country witnessed clashes breaking out between pro and anti-CAA protestors. The television caught a 33-year man in a red t-shirt, later identified as one Shahrukh, brandishing a pistol and firing randomly at the opposing side. Head Constable Deepak Dahiya confronted him as he faced Shahrukh, pointing a gun at him.
This video aired on all television channels went viral on social media. The police were swift in identifying him and arresting him the next day but what followed was disturbing.
One Imran Bankwi, @imranbankwi, tweeted a picture showing the Jardrabad shooter on the left side, and BJP leader Kapil Mishra on the right with a bearded person at the back. The tweet stated, “Pro CAA Goon Was Seen Firing On Anti CAA Protestors in Delhi. This Happened Only After Kapil Mishra’s Inflammatory Speech. From Maujpur To Jafrabad, Goons Are Attacking Anti CAA Protestors With Weapons & Burning Public Properties.”
A fact check revealed Kapil Mishra did indeed make the inflammatory speech on February 23, but the bearded person in the background of his picture is not the Jafrabad shooter.
However, the tweet garnered 704 shares and seven comments. It is yet another example of how someone can cause communal disharmony using fake pictures with the wrong attribution.
Condoms found in Shaheen Bagh
Shaheen Bagh in Delhi has become the symbolic epicentre of the anti-CAA protest where Muslim women of all ages have staged a prolonged sit-in. The blocked road connecting Noida with Mathura Road at Sarita Vihar has led to widespread resentment and anger against the protestors.
In an attempt to discredit those staging the peaceful sit-in, one Prabhu Sagar, claiming membership of Hindu Samaj Party, posted a picture on Facebook showing a large number of condoms strewn on the floor with a caption in Hindi translated as, “If you want evidence, comment below. I will send the proof in abundance. Municipality employees found this scene in the drain behind Shaheen Bagh while cleaning.”
The post garnered 1,400 shares before Facebook took down the post, but the damage was done. The attempt was to discredit those women sitting peacefully at Shaheen Bagh.
A fact check revealed the source of the picture was a Vietnamese site.
Congress paying money to anti-CAA protestors
On January 17 2020, one Mukesh Sharma – @MukeshK15105659, posted a video on Facebook and Twitter showing a person distributing cash to people holding a Congress party flag. The caption in Hindi translated to, “Congress workers pay cash to all women demanding Azadi.”
The video also showed Rahul Gandhi’s speech at another location superimposed on this video is a reference to the ongoing anti-CAA protests. The video was shared 21 thousand times.
The attempt to malign one political party and discredit those opposing CAA is apparent.
A fact check revealed the video dates back to April 17, 2019, when Zee 24 TV uploaded the video clip on YouTube which showed a Congress party worker paying cash to rally attendees, post-rally.
Advice to all citizens
Please beware of fake videos circulating on social media. Do not forward any video which is inflammatory or can incite a violent reaction, even if you think it is an authentic video. Please apply your mind and heart before blindly forwarding it.