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Video Of Woman Being Thrashed, Dragged Out Of Bengaluru Temple Shared With Casteist Claim

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 is a fact-checker based out of Delhi who enjoys ‘digital sleuthing’ and calling out misinformation. He has completed his MA in International Relations from Madras University and has worked with organisations like NDTV, Times Now and Deccan Chronicle online in the past.

Claim
Brahmin priest assaults Dalit woman for entering temple in Bengaluru, drags her out of the premises by the hair.

Fact
No caste angle to the 2023 case.

Several social media users are circulating a video, claiming it shows a Brahmin priest of a temple in Bengaluru assaulting a Dalit woman because she had entered the temple. The “priest” is seen dragging the woman out of the temple premises by her hair and then beating her again with a rod.

The archived version of the tweets can be seen here and here.

Fact Check

Newschecker first ran a keyword search for “Bengaluru priest temple Dalit woman”, which led us to multiple news reports from January 2023 stating that a woman in Bengaluru was pulled by her hair and dragged out of a temple after she claimed to be Lord Venkateshwara’s wife and insisted on sitting next to the idol. The reports can be seen here, here, here and here.

“In a viral video from Bengaluru’s Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy temple in Amruthahalli, a woman can be seen being repeatedly slapped, held by hair and dragged outside the temple’s sanctorum by a priest. The incident is said to have occurred on December 21. In the video, the woman and the priest can be seen having an argument and it appears that the woman insists on staying inside the temple and the priest is adamant on kicking her out. The woman resists and the priest drags her by her hair and slaps her too. The woman falls down but the priest does not stop. He again grabs her by her hair and drags her outside. Three other people, two of whom are dressed like priests, are present in the sanctorum but none of them try to stop the priest or save the woman,” read a TOI report, dated January 6, 2023. None of the reports mention that the woman was being dragged out because she was a Dalit.

We learnt that the Bengaluru police registered a case against an official of the Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy temple in the Amruthahalli locality for allegedly thrashing and dragging a woman outside the premises.

“We have registered a case on charges of assault and outraging the modesty of a woman based on the complaint. The incident took place on December 21, but the complaint was lodged only Wednesday. We are probing the case. We are yet to arrest the accused in the case. The matter is being investigated,” Anoop Shetty, the deputy commissioner of police (DCP), north-east, told the Hindustan Times, adding that the police did not register a case under the SC/ST act as the complaint did not identify the victim as a member of any scheduled caste or tribe.

“Locals claim that the woman is mentally challenged,” read an NDTV report, dated January 6, 2023.

The accused, Munikrishna, reportedly told police that the woman claimed that Lord Venkateshwara was her husband and wanted to sit next to the idol in the sanctum sanctorum. When her demand was rejected, she spat on the priest, after which she was asked to leave. As the woman did not listen, she was beaten and dragged out, he told the police. A Deccan Herald report, dated January 9, 2023, said that although the woman’s complaint states that Munikrishnappa hurled caste expletives at her, the police said she was not a Dalit.  She reportedly told DH: “Munikrishnappa refused to let me have darshan of the deity, saying I was dirty and that I don’t take a bath. He also called me insane, hit me on the head and the leg and dragged me out.”

“A case under Section 354 (assault) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) has been registered against Munikrishna. Police officials told TNM that the woman belongs to the Thigala community, but denied that this was a case of caste-based violence to restrict her entry into the temple. A case was not registered under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act since the complaint did not identify as a member of any scheduled caste or tribe,” read The News Minute report, dated January 7, 2023.

We also reached out to Ravi Kumar, husband of the victim, who confirmed that there was no caste angle to the case and stated that they were not Dalits.

Also Read: Screenshot of Maldivian President Muizzu’s tweet apologizing to Indians is digitally altered

Conclusion

Viral video of woman being assaulted and thrown out of Bengaluru temple falsely shared as a case of caste-based violence.

Result: Missing Context

Sources
Times of India report, January 6, 2023
Hindustan Times report, January 7, 2023
Deccan Herald report, January 9, 2023
The News Minute report,  January 7, 2023
Conversation with Ravi Kumar
(with inputs from Ishwarachandra BG, Newschecker Kannada)


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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 is a fact-checker based out of Delhi who enjoys ‘digital sleuthing’ and calling out misinformation. He has completed his MA in International Relations from Madras University and has worked with organisations like NDTV, Times Now and Deccan Chronicle online in the past.

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