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HomeFact CheckRanchi Police’s Drone Surveillance Video Ahead Of Ram Navami Goes Viral With...

Ranchi Police’s Drone Surveillance Video Ahead Of Ram Navami Goes Viral With Communal Spin

Authors

Kushel HM is a mechanical engineer-turned-journalist, who loves all things football, tennis and films. He was with the news desk at the Hindustan Times, Mumbai, before joining Newschecker.

Pankaj Menon

Claim
Ranchi Police’s drone surveillance on route for Ram Navami procession showed Muslim houses had stocked up stones on their rooftops to attack Hindus during the festivities.

Fact
Video is from a routine police check-up to ensure safety, while house owners were asked to remove construction material so as to avoid any misuse by miscreants

Several social media users are circulating what appears to be drone footage, claiming that the Ranchi Police had thwarted large-scale communal violence after discovering stones stockpiled on the terraces of at least 10 homes, ahead of the Ram Navami procession on Wednesday. The claims insinuated that the stones were being readied by Muslims to pelt at the procession. Times Now, too, reported on this surveillance footage, stating that a communal mishap had been averted by the Ranchi Police.

The archived versions of the tweets and news report can be seen here, here and here.

Fact Check

Newschecker first ran a keyword search for “Ranchi police drones stones Ram Navami procession”, which led us to this Daily Pioneer report, dated April 17, 2024, stating that the Ranchi Police are on high alert regarding Ram Navami, so as to prevent any untoward incident in Jharkhand’s capital on Wednesday.

“The police inspected the route through which the procession will take out on the day of Ram Navami on Wednesday in the city. Kotwali DYSP Prakash Soy carried out drone surveillance in the Main Road, Hindpiri and Daily Market areas of the state capital.  During this time, it was revealed that stones were kept on the roofs of eight houses located in Hindpiri and Daily Market area. Police have sent notices to all eight house owners,” read the report, adding that the landlords have been asked to remove the stones from the roof as soon as possible. “If there is any dispute during the procession, the person on whose roof the stones were found will be held accountable,” stated the report. Similar reports can be seen here and here, further indicating that the drone surveillance of the planned route was part of the several preventive measures aimed to ensure the safety and smooth conduct of the Ram Navami procession, while minimising any potential disruptions or incidents during the festivities.

A further search led us to these Ranchi Police tweets, dated April 16, 2024, replying to a user who wanted a clarification regarding the viral video. The police clearly state that the drone monitoring of procession routes is a routine administrative process, which is done in many districts, and if any construction material such as stones, bricks, sand etc. are found lying on someone’s roof, then the concerned homeowners are asked to remove the objects.

“The house owners are called. Such a notice was given to the house owners in Ranchi district also. There is no communal or conspiracy dimension in this. It is not legal for any news channel to run sensational news like *exposing a conspiracy* without any solid basis,” read the tweet, translated from Hindi.

We then reached out to Ranchi SSP Chandan Kumar Sinha, who directed us to another series of tweets from Ranchi Police, dated April 17, 2023, where they clearly say it is standard procedure (SOP) to conduct a survey using a drone camera to maintain law and order and that the house owners were instructed to remove the construction material found during the drone survey. 

“The people in whose houses construction material such as bricks etc. have been found, belong to both the communities. There is no evidence that the material found on the roof was kept there for some conspiracy,” read one of the tweets, translated from Hindi, adding that linking the drone’s picture with a particular community is a malicious action. 

With the help of Google street view after analysing the viral footage, we got in touch with three shopkeepers across both the communities from the nearby daily market area. Two shopkeepers, who did not want to be named, said the drone monitoring was just routine procedure and had been happening every year, while also stating that there was no communal angle to the police surveillance. Another shopkeeper, who also did not want to be named, said he was not aware of any police action or surveillance in the area.

Champai Soren, chief minister of Jharkhand, too, tweeted, regarding the matter, on April 17, 2023, clarifying that it was a routine check. “Since yesterday, some social media handles have been spreading misleading news about the presence of bricks, stones etc. on some houses in Hindpiri, Ranchi. Ranchi police has clarified that during routine checks, construction material was found on the roofs of 10-11 houses, which has been removed. Some of these houses have been built recently, while some are still under construction. Police have also clarified that the owners of these houses belong to different communities…Jharkhand Police has been instructed to take appropriate action against those spreading such rumours,” read the tweet, translated from Hindi.

Also Read: Shoe Attack On BJP MLA In Hamirpur? No, 2018 Video Shared With False Claim

Conclusion

Viral video of Ranchi Police’s routine drone surveillance of the Ram Navami procession route shared with a communal claim.

Result: Missing Context

Sources
Daily Pioneer report, April 17, 2024
Ranchi Police tweet, April 16, 2024
Conversations with shopkeepers from Daily Market, Mahatma Gandhi Main Road, Ranchi
Tweet, chief minister, April 17, 2024


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Authors

Kushel HM is a mechanical engineer-turned-journalist, who loves all things football, tennis and films. He was with the news desk at the Hindustan Times, Mumbai, before joining Newschecker.

Pankaj Menon

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