Violence has swept West Bengal since Sunday this week after the election results confirmed a TMC victory. Several cases of violent incidents have been reported from across the state as goons and supporters of the TMC went on a rampage against their political opponents, especially against the BJP, assaulting and allegedly killing them, vandalising and ransacking their offices. Social media is replete with videos of the violence that pervaded the state in the wake of the assembly election results.
As videos of blood-curdling violence started doing the rounds on the internet, the nation’s attention was drawn towards the rampant savagery exhibited by the TMC supporters against their political rivals in West Bengal. Questions were being raised of the TMC government in the state for condoning the violence and using it as a tool to inflict retribution against their opponents.
However, no sooner did the videos of the violence in West Bengal went viral, some ‘fact checkers’ such as Alt News and Boom Live rushed to the defense of the TMC by promoting old videos of violence and thereby discrediting the reports of post-poll violence emanating from West Bengal.
Alt News promotes old videos to call into question claims of post-poll violence in West Bengal
Alt News recently published an article in which it claimed that an old video of a mob attacking police in Odisha is being shared as post-poll violence in West Bengal. The article said the old video was used to spread “misinformation” on social media and add “fuel to the fire”.
Needless to say, this article by Alt News was shared with the express purpose of casting aspersions on the reports of violence taking place in West Bengal. By alleging that old videos are in circulation, Alt News attempted to subtly insinuate that there was no post-poll violence in the state and that a malicious campaign was run on social media to tarnish the TMC government.
In its pursuit to raise doubts about the authenticity of violence in West Bengal, Alt News promoted irrelevant and old videos from the past so that they can be ‘fact-checked’ and people could be misled into believing that violence in West Bengal is an exaggeration, or even worse—a propaganda campaign.
Incidentally, soon after the videos of grisly violence carried out by TMC goons against their political rivals surfaced on the internet, many social media users, who are aware of Alt News’ shenanigans, foreboded that the so-called fact-checker would soon start promoting and ‘fact-checking’ old videos to provide a cover for the brutalities carried out in Bengal. Their prediction turned out to be true as Alt News tried to invalidate the claims of violence in West Bengal with its ‘fact-check’ of an old video.
Won’t be surprised if Faultnews comes up with this “fact-check” to cover up for the ongoing violence in Bengal – “Two-year old video from Bangladesh passed off as violence in Bengal”— Swati Goel Sharma (@swati_gs) May 3, 2021
Guys at @AltNews must be searching for old violence to post from their fake profiles claiming to be from WB today which they will fact check and declare that there is no violence. https://t.co/V1O33FGfpD— Raju Das | ৰাজু দাস (@rajudasonline) May 3, 2021
This has been the typical modus operandi of Alt News for some time now where they try to discredit a narrative by leaning on ‘fact-checks’ of old videos and highlighting insignificant aspects while brushing damning facts under the rug.
For instance, during the start of the pandemic last year, a video of a vegetable seller applying saliva on his produce had gone viral on the internet. Alt News had then tried to counter the video by claiming that it was from February, before the coronavirus hit India. The fact that he was applying saliva to vegetable was an inconsequential nugget of information to Alt News. Rather, they were more interested in contesting the date on which the incident took place.
Here too, they have selectively picked up obscure videos posted on the internet, and ‘fact-checked’ it to imply that the claims of violence in West Bengal are fake or are wildly exaggerated.
Besides Alt News, another so-called fact-checking website Boom Live was also found promoting an old video to suggest that the violence in West Bengal is blown out of proportion. In its article, Boom Live stated that an old and edited video showing people carrying weapons and dancing to a remixed version of ‘Khela Hobe’ is being passed off as a recent one. This again is a cunning ruse to cast aspersions on the actual violence currently underway in West Bengal and misleading readers into believing that old videos of violence are in circulation on the internet.
Instances of post-poll violence in West Bengal following election results
Contrary to what left propganda websites like Alt News and Boom Live would have us believe, West Bengal was in grips of violence ever since the election results trend started titling in the favour of the ruling dispensation Trinamool Congress.
Soon after the Trinamool Congress (TMC) surpassed the BJP in Vidhan Sabha elections, the goons of the ruling dispensation unleashed violence against their political opponents. While the TMC had secured 213 seats, the BJP managed to win 77 constituencies. There have been multiple incidents of violence inflicted by TMC goons from several places across the state.
Petitions have been filed in the Supreme Court over the matter and the Congress party and the Left Front have accused TMC of attacking their cadres as well.