By: Soumadip Dey
Claim: A video of an army personnel threatening a police officer has been shared on Facebook with the claim that the incident took place in Kashmir. The posts state that such behavior by this army officer deserves to be sent to a court of inquiry.
Source: Facebook and Twitter.
What Happened: A video has been shared on social media where an army commander is seen threatening the person who is recording the video. The video has been shared with the caption: An army officer openly threatens a police officer in Kashmir — what is the Indian Army coming to? This deserves a Court of Inquiry and if necessary, a GCM. This kind of indiscipline cannot be tolerated in the uniformed services.
The video has been shared by the Facebook page, JK Updates with Riffat Wani, which has over 10k followers. The post received over 270 shares at the time of writing this article but the numbers are expected to go up due to the sensitive nature of the video.
The video has also been shared by other Facebook pages with a similar narrative. All these posts claim that the video is from Kashmir and demand some sort of inquiry. The sentiment is echoed in the comments section as well as by people who have further shared these posts on their own timeline or in various groups.
The posts have also been shared by news pages that are from Kashmir, and while they have kept the narrative the same, they have removed the word Kashmir from the description, but people sharing and commenting on the video have inferred that video is from the valley as these pages share Kashmir related news.
Facts: The video is in fact not from Kashmir, and has been shared with a false narrative to create distrust of the army among people. On listening closely, it can heard that the army colonel in the video says “Be very careful while you move out of Bomdila”. Bomdila is a place that is in Arunachal Pradesh, not Kashmir.
On the 2nd of November, soldiers from the Indian army’s 2nd Arunachal Scouts had allegedly misbehaved with police personnel and civilians at the Buddha Mahotsav celebrations in Bomdila. According to various reports, the arrests exacerbated tensions between the army and police in the region, especially since the battalion also vandalized the police station. The commanding officer had visited the police office, and, as the video shows, threatened the police. The officer in the video says “Be very careful while you move out of Bomdila. This is a direct threat to you. Take it as a warning. You dare touch my boy again, any time in the future, and see what I make out of you.”
The video was also broadcast by national news portals while reporting on the incident. India Today, for example, used the same video to report how tensions have escalated between police and army in Arunachal Pradesh.
Conclusion: An unrelated video was falsely used by pages claiming to be news outlets in order to create further distrust of the Indian army in Kashmir, which some see as an occupying force. While the incident did take place, there is no connection with Kashmir. As often happens, people shared it without asking themselves why such a significant story was not covered by the mainstream media. A large number of social media users fall prey to this type of bandwagon propaganda frequently and share it without checking, as they appeal to people’s communal instincts and confirmation biases..