A viral video showing a person assaulting a power supply employee is going viral across social media. The video is viral with the claim that the customer refused to pay his bill after Congress promised free electricity in the state.
The Congress defeated the Bharatiya Janata Party to form the government with Siddaramaiah as the chief minister. The Congress promised 200 free units to all households in Karnataka, as one of its poll promises.
As per media reports, villagers in Belagavi and Gulbarga district refused to pay their current electricity bills citing the government's pre-poll promise.
In the video, a man can be seen slapping a uniformed employee and abusing him. The man also attempts to assault the person filming.
Twitter user Rishi Bagree shared the video with the claim, "Electricity officials are attacked by local residents in Karnataka when they came for a meter reading. Residents say that they won’t pay from electricity now onwards as per Congress Guarantee".
It is being widely shared on social media with a similar claim.
We broke down the video into keyframes and conducted a reverse image search which led us to a video uploaded by South First on 24 May 2023.
"The man is seen verbally abusing and thrashing the GESCOM staff who visited the house seeking the payment of the pending electricity bill," the tweet is captioned.
The video report notes that the police identified the assaulter as Chandrashekar Hiremath who was abusing and assaulting a Gulbarga Electricity Supply Company Limited (GESCOM) staff member.
Taking a cue, we conducted a keyword search and came across an India Today report published on May 24, 2023, with the title, "Karnataka man slaps electricity company staffer when asked to pay Rs 9k dues | Video".
The suspect, identified as Chandrashekar Hiremath of Kukanapalli in Koppal, abused and attacked the GESCOM staffer, Manjunath. The incident happened after he asked the Hiremath to pay his dues. Hiremath refused to pay the bill.
The report says, according to police, “the electricity company employee had gone to disconnect Hiremath’s power supply as he had not paid his dues, adding up to over Rs 9,000 for the past 6 months.”
Our search led us to a video uploaded by SouthFirst reporter Anusha Ravi Sood showing a statement by Yashodha Vantagodi.
The Twitter post is captioned, "The Koppal SP said about the incident, "Chandrashekhar Hiremath had a pending electricity bill of Rs 9000. GESCOM had disconnected supply over dues. He illegally restored power supply. When questioned by authorities, he assaulted them."
We found that the video shows a man adamant on not paying the due amount to the Karnataka State Electricity board. As per the authorities, he had refused to pay the pending electricity bill and did not cite the government's scheme. Thus, the viral video is misleading.
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