As political parties gear up to contest the 15th quinquennial legislative assembly election scheduled to be held in Assam from March 27 to April 6, the political sphere is rampant with blatant attempts to peddle fake news and create a negative image of the incumbent BJP government in the state, and Congress has once again been caught doing the same.
In another such attempt, the Assam Congress took to Twitter on March 4 to share a video that shows two policemen firing at the protestors following which two of the protestors are seen collapsing after being hit by bullets. The Assam Congress captioned the video in Assamese which translates to “Dear voters, now this is election season in Assam. Have you decided whom to vote for in the 2021 elections? Before casting your vote watch the below video once and decide whom to vote for”.
The audio at that time stamp says 5 youths were martyred during the CAA agitation.
Through the Tweet, the Congress party tried to insinuate that the ruling BJP government in the state has been steadfast in stifling voices of dissent.
With the Assembly polls nearing, what Assam Congress essentially wanted to do is instigate the people of the state against the ruling government, and to do this, it brazenly passed off a 2017 old video as a 2019 video to show alleged excesses of Assam police against those who protested against the Citizenship Amendment Act, at a time when Assam and parts of northeast were facing intense protests over the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) 2019.
This lie was, however, called out by BJP leader and senior Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, who took to Twitter to, side by side share the screenshot of the Assam Congress’s Tweet and a report by TimesNow, which had in 2019 fact-checked the video. Calling the Congress a “fake news factory”, the BJP minister wrote: “Check at 2 min, how they have misused a mock drill video from Jharkhand to call it shooting by @assampolice.”
The truth behind the video which Assam Congress tried to pass off as that of Assam police
In haste to malign the Modi government, the Assam Congress probably forgot to do its homework. Various media agencies including TimesNow and India TV had in 2019, already fact-checked this video, which then too circulated on social media with similar claims. This fake video was also fact-checked by Press Information Bureau’s Fact Check arm in December 2019.
#PIBFactCheck— PIB India (@PIB_India) December 17, 2019
Claim: A video is doing the rounds on Social Media as police shooting at #CAA protesters in #Assam.
Reality: This is a mock drill video by Jharkhand Police two years ago.
Conclusion: #Fakenews pic.twitter.com/IWaLW1hmjt
In fact, Congress backed ‘fact-checking’ website AltNews had also fact-checked this video.
What is surprising is that though this video was fact-checked in 2019, Congress not only shared it again but brazenly made the same fake claim that did the rounds then too.
The fact is that the video which Congress passed off as that of Assam police shooting at people protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act in Assam, is actually an old video of a mock drill conducted by Jharkhand Police in November 2017.
The same video has also been used in Kashmir in the past.
However, this is a habit of the Congress party that no longer surprises anyone. Despite being caught every time, the Congress party keeps using the same tactics, in its futile attempt, to malign the BJP govt. Last year, when the central government was doing its best to cope with the COVID pandemic, Congress had tweeted an old video clip to claim they help the poor more than the BJP does. However, it panned out that the video was indeed August 2019 one.
Similarly, in May 12 last year taking to Twitter, Congress’ SC department shared an old image of a Rohingya refugee in Bangladesh to attack the central government for its alleged inefficiency in the handling of the migrant worker’s issue. Twitter user Ankur Singh, however, was quick to spot the lie. Sharing a screenshot of a news report from 2017, the Twitter user pointed out that this image is of some Rohingya refugees in Cox Bazaar, Bangladesh, taken in 2017.