Amid rumours of child kidnapping by sadhus gaining momentum throughout social media, many are sharing unverified claims believing it to be true. In this context, a video of a group of men beating a group of sadhus with sticks is going viral on social media, claiming to show a recent incident from Sangli. Newschecker found the video to be from a different incident.
The video has been shared on Twitter by user @RadharamnDas which has garnered 2,191 likes and 1,742 retweets along with the caption ‘4 Sadhus from Mathura, who were going to Pandharpur on pilgrimage were beaten by a mob in Sangli, Maharashtra. This whole region is where missionaries & mullas have converted villages after villages. Who had Imagined that one day Sadhus can’t even walk on the streets in Bharat?’.
Newschecker found that the same video clip has been used by the verified handles of News channels as part of their montage of a series of video clips.
Some news websites also used tweets carrying the same video on their report of the incident. Archived link of the same can be found here.
We started our investigation by conducting a keyword search on Google with the words “Sadhus beaten up on suspicion of child theft” and “Sangli, Maharashtra” and found several media reports which confirmed that an incident where sadhus were beaten up for suspicion of child theft had indeed occurred. But Newschecker noticed that the images and videos of the incident featured in many of these reports were different to the ones that are currently going viral. The media reports can be seen here and here.
To confirm if the viral video was indeed from Sangli, Newschecker Marathi team contacted senior journalist Shivraj Katkar from Sangli who confirmed that while such an incident had occurred, the viral videos were not from Sangli. Katkar also shared two videos of the incident which were different from the ones that is being widely shared.
Newschecker, then conducted a reverse image search on the key-frames of the viral video on Google to ascertain its authenticity and found a report by Dainik Bhaskar carrying the same video. The title of the report read, ‘Villagers beat up thugs who came as sadhus with sticks: in Raisen, ran away with ornaments and money in the name of removing the hindrance; 6 arrested’. The report was published one month ago.
On further probe, we also found a video uploaded on Youtube by the channel of PUNJAB KESARI MP on 6th August, 2022 which contained visuals similar to those seen in the viral video.
According to the report, in the Raisen district neighbourhood of Polaha, near the Mandideep Police Station in Madhya Pradesh, some sadhus robbed a woman after rendering her unconscious. Posing as sadhus, the thieves broke into the woman’s home and took the cash and jewellery. They were staying in Pipaliya Gajju hamlet, which is close to Paloha, the residents learned. The villagers beat the sadhus and then turned them over to the police. Apart from this, we also found multiple reports about the viral video on Amar Ujala and IBC24 TV channel.
Newschecker scanned the viral video and found that the incident took place in front of a shop named Harisuman Kirana and General Store, screenshot of which is available below.
Newschecker found the General Store on Google Maps.
Newschecker also contacted SP Dikshit Gedam of Sangli and Police Officer Manoj Singh of Mandideep of Madhya Pradesh and are awaiting their reply. Newschecker will update the article once we receive their response.
Newschecker’s investigation reveals that viral video of sadhus being beaten up for suspicion of child theft in Sangli, Maharashtra is an older video from a separate incident that occured in Raisen, Madhya Pradesh.
Result: Partly False
Conversation with Senior Journalist Shivraj Katkar
Media Report Published by Dainik bhaskar
Media Report Published by IBC24 on 8th August, 2022
Media Report Published by News18 on 14th September, 2022
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