In light of the ongoing Kanwar Yatra, a video is going viral across social media which shows people fighting. The video is being circulated with the claim that it shows fighting between two groups of pilgrims during the Kanwar Yatra, leading to the death of an army person.
On 26 July, Kartik Singh Baliyan, a 25-year-old army soldier from Sisauli, died after two groups fought against each other in Roorkee, Haridwar district, Uttarakhand. Reportedly, a mini-truck driven by an Army man overtook a pilgrim vehicle in Roorkee town, infuriating the Kanwariyas. They then stopped the mini-truck, and the two groups clashed, reported Telegraph India. As per the report, one of the Kanwariyas from Panipat assaulted Kartik with a baton and Kartik was declared dead due to excessive bleeding on arrival at a local hospital.
The viral video shows several people beating a man, all of whom are seen standing on top of a structure. The severely beaten man then slips down the structure due to the heavy assault and is hit by people at the bottom of the structure with sticks.
The claim circulating with the video translates as follows, "A clash took place between Kanwariyas hailing from Haryana and Uttar Pradesh in Manglaur area of Roorkee. In the incident, Kartik Baliyan from Sisauli, a soldier with the Indian Army, died due to injuries to his head. There was a dispute regarding the race to take Kanwar ahead between Dak Kanwars."
Dak Kanwars are a set of kanwariyas who attempt to complete the entire pilgrimage within 24 hours. These pilgrims do not stop anywhere during their journey, nor eat and sleep, till they collect and offer water to Lord Shiva.
The video is viral across Twitter and Facebook.
The Logical Indian Fact Check team verified the viral claim and found it to be misleading. The viral video is actually of an incident showing a clash between two groups of Kanwar Yatra pilgrims after a loud music competition between them.
We used InVid's Keyframe Analysis tool to isolate the keyframes of the viral video. We then conducted a reverse image search on the keyframes which led us to this short video uploaded on a YouTube channel, CKA News.
The video, published on July 28, 2022, is the same as the viral video. The video carries the title, "During a DJ competition in Meerut, two groups of Kanwariyas fought fiercely, the video went viral on social media."
Taking a cue from this, we conducted a keyword search on YouTube with keywords such as, 'DJ Competition Kanwariyas.' We came across a video by Punjab Kesari UP, titled, 'Kanwariyas clashed with each other during DJ competition, watch video'. The caption of the video reads, "Two groups of Kanwariyas clashed with each other during a DJ competition in Kharkhoda, Meerut. They were competing against each other to play which turned into an altercation." From the 1.06 mark in the video, the footage from the viral video can be seen.
This prompted us to conduct a keyword search for the incident. We came across an article published by Punjab Kesari on 26th July 2022. The article's thumbnail carried a snapshot of the viral video. The article states that the incident occurred under the Kharkhoda police station's jurisdiction, where during a DJ competition, there was a fierce fight between two groups of kanwariyas.
As per the report, two groups of kanwariyas were taking part in a DJ competition which led to an altercation between these pilgrims over some issue. This altercation then turned into a fight between the groups. The Punjab Kesari report states that negligence of the Meerut Police is being brought up in this matter.
We also came across a report by AmarUjala published on 25th July 2022. The Amar Ujala report states that Kanwar pilgrims, who are traders of Bulandshahr in the Kharkhoda area in the Meerut district, had set up a Kanwar Seva camp. Another group of kanwariyas from Basatpur, a village in Hapur, were passing by the camp, playing loud music.
These groups got into a competition of playing loud music which lasted for about two hours. However, later it led to a fight between the two groups of kanwariyas, the report read.
In our Fact Check, we also came across a Twitter reply by the official handle of Meerut Police. Nishant Sharma, Bureau Chief at News1 India had tweeted the video stating that the video showed Kanwar Yatra pilgrims fighting in Meerut. To his tweet, the Meerut Police replied that the police station in charge in Kharkhoda has been informed to take the required necessary action.
In our Fact Check, we found that the video is actually of an incident showing a clash between two groups of Kanwar Yatra pilgrims after a loud music competition between them.
As per media reports, pilgrims from the Kharkhoda area in the Meerut district, and pilgrims from Basatpur, a village in Hapur, were playing loud music in a competition against each other. This competition led to an altercation between the groups and subsequent physical violence. However, this incident was not where Army officer Kartik Baliyan lost his life, as clarified by Meerut Police. Thus, we can ascertain that the viral video is misleading.
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