Palak a journalism graduate believes in simplifying the complicated and writing about the extraordinary lives of ordinary people. She calls herself a " hodophile" or in layman words- a person who loves to travel.
After a series of violent incidents and riots in the national capital, a number of videos are doing rounds on social media. One such video was extensively shared with the claims that the people, especially Muslim women, were being paid to protest against the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Act.
A 30-second video shows women queuing up in a narrow lane where they are being handed over cash by a man donning black attire.
This now-viral video was shared with comments accusing the Muslim women being funded by political parties and terrorist organisations to instigate riots.
@CChristineFair Real truth of Shaheen bagh protestors in delhi. They are being funded by Political Parties and Terrorist organizations. All females are getting paid to sit in the protest. pic.twitter.com/9N6vBwqZg9— Sagar Chadha (@SagarChadha18) March 1, 2020
Several social media users targeted the men in the video distributing cash, also connecting the incident to 'Shaheen Bagh.'
Delhi BJP general secretary Kuljeet Singh Chahal also tweeted the video.
भई कोई बतायेगा ये कहाँ के लिए , क्यों पैसे बाँटे जा रहे हैं । pic.twitter.com/S0zCowZ9yL— Kuljeet Singh Chahal (@kuljeetschahal) February 29, 2020
Several similar posts were seen making rounds on other social media platforms.
The Logical Indian found out that Chandra Mohan, a Chennai-based activist who has been in the national capital to aid and assist in the rescue and relief operations after the communal violence went to the same area and had recorded a video falsifying the claims.
"I got in touch with some youngsters from trade unions who were engaged in providing the relief materials to the riot victims. So, I joined them. We were first operating from Chand Bagh where we set up the camp to provide the materials, later we moved to old Mustafabad for the relief work."
He further added that a lot of victims from Shiv Vihar and neighbouring areas have come there, taking refuge in the homes of the residents.
Mohan explained that when he came across the video, he went ahead to locate the lane and the person who was seen distributing cash. Locals helped him find a man named Shahzad Malik
Clarifying on the area, he said, "This place is called Babu Nagar, Old Mustafabad, A Block, Gali Number 9. The man you see in the video is Shahzad Malik who was distributing cash and had reasons for doing it."
A lot of victims lost their homes to the violence took refuge in the area. There was an acute shortage of relief materials and people were helpless. After providing ration to the victims, Shahzad went ahead giving Rs 500 to each person.
The Logical Indian spoke to Shahzad Malik to get clarity on the developments.
"On Friday, February 28, we first distributed the relief material that was received from Jamia College. After the supplies were exhausted, I could see nearly 150 women without anything to eat or drink. I had a thought that if people who were not from our area could come forward in helping the victims, why could not I do it? That was when I decided to give Rs. 500 to each person and spent nearly Rs. 70,000 in entirety."
Shahzad told us that he extended help because he could see victims who were left homeless after their houses were burnt, some did not have money to treat wounds or for medicines, and a few had children who needed food.
He further informed that there was a three-minute video of the entire incident, however, a short 30-second video where cash was being collected by women was cropped and was being circulated.
The original videos of the relief work have been added and in the extended version of the viral video, women can also be seen taking Shahzad's name and said, "Allah will bless them. Such humans who are helping others.''
BBC, through its investigation, has also debunked the claims of the women protestors collecting money.
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