Rajasthan Police ends up declaring a true incident as ‘fake news’ on Twitter

While the user whom Rajasthan police accused of spreading fake news and warned of action by cyber unit deleted his tweet, many other users pointed out that the incident was not fake and didn’t take place in Jharkhand but in Rajasthan itself recently.

In the last couple of days, a video is being shared on social media where a person is seen complaining to police about “Aurangzeb’s rule” coming to his state. Those sharing the video are claiming that the incident happened in Utambar, Rajasthan after Congress won the recently concluded assembly elections.

It is being claimed that Congress supporting Muslim workers intruded into the homes of Rajput community in Utambar, Rajasthan and misbehaved with girls.

Many social media users have been sharing this video of the incident as proof of Congress’ Muslim appeasement, as the incident is supposed to have taken place within 5 hours of Congress government being formed in the state (technically the new Chief Minister is yet to take the oath).

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However on Twitter, the verified handle of Rajasthan Police, on December 16th, 2018 appeared to have declared the incident as “fake news”

This declaration of the incident as “fake news” was assumed by most Twitter users as a proof that such an incident never happened in Utambar. Rajasthan police instead claimed that the video was old and the incident had happened in Jharkhand, however the text of the message specifically talked about an incident in Utambar, Rajasthan.

While the user whom Rajasthan police accused of spreading fake news and warned of action by cyber unit, deleted his tweet, many other users pointed out that the incident claimed in his tweet was not fake.

UPDATE: The Twitter user who had deleted his tweet appeared to have attached a wrong video, however, the screenshot used by Rajasthan police in their warning did not include thumbnail of the video, in absence of which, a real incident (as seen in the text part of the screenshot used by Rajasthan police) was being tagged as ‘fake news’ by Rajasthan police and believed so by many users.

Twitter users pointed to factors like the person speaking in Marwari, which is a dialect spoken in parts of Rajasthan and not in Jharkhand.

OpIndia decided to dig further and we found that there were news articles in the vernacular media that matched the incidents in the shared video, or as claimed by the user who was warned by the Rajasthan Police.

According to one Dainik Bhaskar report dated 14th December, after claims of assault and molestation, various supporters under the leadership of BJP leader Babusingh Rathore protested and took out a 4-kilometre march. The report says that Babusingh Rathore and his supporters also met Ranveer Singh, presumably the father of the girls, and examined the injuries of their two daughters.

Picture credit: Dainik Bhaskar

Therefore, the Dainik Bhaskar report confirms that the incident, which Rajasthan police ended up tagging as ‘fake news’ on Twitter, indeed took place in Utambar, Rajasthan.

According to another Dainik Bhaskar report dated 17th December, the name of the ones arrested in this case are Firoz Khan’s son Huzur Khan Bhojakor, Alawataya’s son Elidwanwan Rawat, Rauf Khan’s son Fakir Khan Rawat and Mojboor Khan’s son Hameed Khan. They also found two jeeps used in the incident.

In the 14th December Dainik Bhaskar report, it is said that the police had assuaged sentiments of the village after giving an assurance that the accused would be arrested within 7 days.

OpIndia also talked to the investigating officer who confirmed that such an incident had taken place. He, however, said that the incident was more political in nature than communal. He confirmed that perpetrators accused of molesting girls were arrested.

The IO said that after the elections results of 11th December 2018 where Congress swept the polls, Congress workers were celebrating the victory when things got heated. Complaints were filed against the people involved in the victory procession and the police had reached the spot late at night, around 10 PM.

When asked about the molestation charge, the IO said that medical tests have been conducted on the girls and they did have injury marks on their hands. He also asserted that the police was working swiftly and had already made 7 arrests in the case. The officer further informed that a counter FIR has also been fired in the case.

The tweet by Rajasthan police caused many to confuse the incident with another video being shared on social media, which indeed is old and from Jharkhand. Many had shared a video where ‘Babri Masjid leke rahenge‘ slogans were raised in a Congress bike rally and insinuated that the incident happened after Congress’ victory in Rajasthan. However, that video was an old one and not of the recent Assembly Elections. That was clearly a fake news.

In this particular case, the incident did happen. Despite numerous users pointing out that Rajasthan Police that the incident narrated in their own screenshot was real, the police had not clarified about it.

UPDATE: A day after OpIndia pointed out how their incomplete screenshot was creating confusion and ending up branding a real news as fake news, Rajasthan police finally clarified that their tweet was about the video – whose thumbnail they had missed in their screenshot, and thus created confusion about another video that was also genuine – was old. However, for some reason, the Rajasthan Police’s Twitter handle still did not explicitly mention that the incident in Utambar was indeed genuine as corroborated by the Rajasthan Police.


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