Several social media users are claiming that Trinamool Congress (TMC) workers forced Hindus of West Bengal (WB) at gunpoint to attend the recently organized mega opposition rally in Kolkata.
The users are sharing a video, with India Today Group’s logo on the top-right corner, showing masked men brandishing pistols and directing people carrying TMC flags towards a certain location.
Some Facebook users used this video to claim that Hindus were threatened and forced to attend the rally organized by WB CM Mamata Banerjee.
“See the truth behind Kolkata’s grand alliance rally. TMC men are pointing gun at
Hindus and forcing them to attend Mamata’s rally. Have never seen such oppression of common man”, is a loose translation of the caption shared along with the video, on social media platforms.
The video has gone viral.
The video is indeed by India Today, but the claim made is false. TMC men did not bring Hindus to Kolkata’s mega rally at gunpoint.
The original video is from April 2018 and was shot in Bankura district of West Bengal. Masked men from TMC cadre intimidated locals of Sonamukhi on the last day of filing nominations for the WB panchayat elections then.
VERIFICATION AND METHODOLOGY
The video doesn’t have any voice over describing the events. This raised a red-flag for us.
Doing reverse-image search using InVid Google Chrome extension did not yield any result, so we tried Google search using different keywords to find if the video was old and if it indeed belonged to India today.
Using keywords “masked men gun India Today”, a video from April 24, 2018 was
Titled “Caught on cam: Masked men openly wave guns to intimidate locals in West Bengal”, it was in the video library of India Today.
Same keywords also led to a news report by India Today correspondent Indrajit Kundu.
report headlined, “Bengal panchayat polls: 1 killed, several injured after violence breaks out on extended day nomination filing”, uses screengrab from same video.
This proved that the incident of TMC men threatening Bengal public was during state panchayat polls last year and not during mega opposition rally.
Times Fact Check has found claims of TMC workers forcing Hindus at gunpoint to attend Mamata’s rally to be false. The video used to make the false claim is not doctored but is from last year when TMC men unleashed violence during the nominations of the panchayat polls.