Soon after the West Bengal assembly elections result was declared on May 2, reports of violence from many districts of the state started surfacing. Opposition parties BJP, Congress, and Left-Front, accused Trinamool Congress of instigating post-poll violence.
In the backdrop of the reports of violence, many social media users, including BJP leaders, are sharing posts to either bring a communal angle to the violence or to show the severity of the violence that has happened in West Bengal. Social media users are also sharing these posts and demanding the central government to impose President Rule in the state.
Kailash Vijayvargiya, National General Secretary of BJP, shared a video of two men beating three women. He shared the video with a communal angle claiming the men in the video are 'Muslim TMC goons' who were beating BJP women workers. The video was shared with a caption, "TMC Muslim Goons are beating BJP Women Workers in Kendamari village, Nandigram." The archive of the post can be seen here.
Another video in which a mob is seen attacking a police vehicle is widely being shared on social media claiming that police officers were attacked by 'TMC goons'. The video is being shared with a caption, "#PresidentRuleInBengal Policeman came to control the situation & then TMC goons attacks on Police.#tmcgoons #BengalViolence."
An image of mob violence is also widely shared on social media, claiming that it of post-poll violence in West Bengal. A Twitter user shared the post with a caption hinting at communal violence. He tweeted the image with the caption, "#BengalBurning Condition of Hindus in Bengal is horrible. How about next five years?"
Many social media users, including CPI(M) Puducherry, shared an image of a burning building claiming it to be the CPI(M) office in Chopra, Uttar Dinajpur district of West Bengal.
Another image of a blazing building was shared online with a claim that the image is of post-poll violence. The image is shared with a caption, "Congratulations to the people of West Bengal for choosing TMC murder crimes. Best wishes for your bright future."
The viral images and videos are of post-poll violence in West Bengal.
The Logical Indian found that the images and videos are not related to the post-poll violence in West Bengal.
Claim 1: BJP women workers were attacked by 'Muslim goons of TMC.'
According to reports published by The Quint, the local sources said that the video shared by Vijayvargiya of women being beaten by men was that of a personal dispute and had nothing to do with politics.
Newslaundary spoke to a police officer at Nandigram police station, who said that the video was not of a political clash but a personal dispute.
Claim 2: The video is of TMC goons attacking a police vehicle
The Logical Indian broke the video in various keyframes and did a reverse image search. On reverse image search, we found a full version of the video uploaded by a YouTube channel, MBCTV, on January 13, 2021. At around 0:27 timestamp, one can see people attacking the police vehicle. According to the voice-over in the video, the incident was of Orissa.
We further found a similar video uploaded by another YouTube channel, OTV News which showed the blazing vehicle of police. According to the video, a police van was set on fire by locals at Alinagar Square in the Bhadrak district of Orissa on January 10, 2021. The locals set ablaze the vehicle over the death of a youth, identified as Bapi Mahalik, a resident of Hatuari village under Nayanand Panchayat.
According to a report published by Prameya News, the youth was going to his sister's house when police started chasing him for an undisclosed reason. The boy ran and fell in a pond, after which he died. The locals got angry and hence attacked the police and burnt down the vehicle.
The incident was also reported by Indian Express.
Hence, an incident from Orissa has been shared with a false claim of TMC supporters attacking police.
Claim 3: The image of mob violence is from West Bengal's post-poll violence.
The Logical Indian did a reverse image search and found that the same image was published by Gulf News on March 29, 2018. According to the image caption, the image is of the Burdwan district where the violence took place after a Ram Navami procession. The caption of the image said, "Police personnel patrol after clashes and incidents of arson over Ram Navami procession at Raniganj in Burdwan district."
Hence, an old image of violence during the Ram Navami procession in West Bengal was shared as post-poll violence.
Claim 4: CPI(M) office in Chopra, Uttar Dinajpur, was set ablaze.
On searching with the keyword "Chopra violence", we came across an article published by The Telegraph on May 4, 2021. The viral image was published in the article. According to the caption, the image is of the house of a BJP supporter, which was set ablaze at Jharbari in Chopra of North Dinajpur on May 2, 2021.
The Logical Indian spoke to Anwarul Haque, the CPI(M) candidate from the Chopra constituency who denied the claim. He said that the office of CPI(M) was not burnt and the news is fake.
Hence, while the image is of Chopra but it was of the house of a BJP supporter that was burnt and not the CPI(M) office.
Claim 5: The image below is of post-poll violence.
The Logical Indian did a reverse image search and found that the same image was published by The Statesman on May 15, 2019. While there was no description of the image, it was attributed to a Twitter handle @ishowcase01, which is no longer available. The article associated with the image tells about the violence that erupted in Kolkata during a massive roadshow by BJP leader and Home Minister Amit Shah. According to the official, scuffle happened after the convoy of Amit Shah was attacked with stones by alleged TMC supporters from inside the hostel of Vidyasagar College. Shah safely escaped the violence, and his rally was cut short.
The image was also tweeted by ABP News on May 14, 2019.
Hence, social media users are sharing many videos and images with fake or misleading contexts, all relating to the post-poll violence of West Bengal.
A similar claim also went viral that TMC supporters have raped BJP workers after the poll results. The Logical Indian debunked the claim, which can be read here.
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