By: Pradarshi Paul
Claim: A video of protests from Maharashtra has been shared on social media with the claim that the protesters were attacked by a mob for chanting ‘Chowkidar chor hai’.
Sources: Facebook and WhatsApp.
What Happened: A video has been widely shared on social media with the claim that protesters at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rally were assaulted by a mob. The video shows protestors raising slogans of ‘Chowkidar Chor Hai’ (the watchman is a thief), and releasing black balloons into the air. Following this, the protestors are attacked by a group of people. It has been shared with the following caption in Hindi:
This translates to: ‘Congress workers were raising slogans of ‘Chowkidar chor hai’ and the public thrashed them for this.’
Facts: This video is from Maharashtra, and was made when Congress workers, including those from the youth and student wings, protested against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Solapur on the 9th of January, 2019. While the protesters did release black balloons and chanted ‘Chowkidar chor hai’, it was in fact the the police who assaulted the protesters.The same video was used in news reports, and was also shared by the official Maharashtra Congress Twitter handle at the time. A number of news reports have stated very clearly that it was plain clothes policemen responsible.
News portals like Quint, Business Standard, and Outlook have also reported that police and security personnel assaulted Congress workers. However, there are no news reports that claim that the Congress workers were attacked by ordinary members of the public.
Conclusion: A true incident was spun to create a different narrative. It was changed to make it appear that ordinary members of the public had assaulted Congress supporters for protesting against the Prime Minister, but, in reality, it was the police violently stopping protesters from disrupting the PM’s motorcade.