Several mainstream news outlets ran a video from Madhya Pradesh showing locals thrash a group of thieves disguised as sadhus (holy men) and claimed it showed an incident in Sangli, Maharashtra where a group of sadhus were attacked on suspicions of being child kidnappers.
Earlier this week, four sadhus were beaten up by villagers in Maharashtra's Sangli district on suspicion of being child kidnappers. The sadhus were heading towards the temple town of Pandharpur via Sangli district in a car and stopped it at Lavangi village for asking directions. A local youth suspected the sadhus to be child kidnappers based on a video on child theft he watched earlier and informed other villagers, said the police. Seven people have been arrested so far related to the incident.
However, news outlets ran another video from Madhya Pradesh, which is unrelated to the assault on sadhus in Sangli.
News outlets such as Times Now, India Today, Mirror Now, AajTak, ABP News, News 18, India TV, News Nation claimed the video showed an assault on four sadhus hailing from Uttar Pradesh as the villagers suspected them to be a criminal gang involved in kidnapping child.
Many of the channels have used the video from MP along with visuals showing locals in Sangli assault the sadhus seen in a car.
The video can be seen below.
India Today, on the other hand, too aired the old video with their exclusive watermark and claimed the same.
The telecast can be seen below.
BOOM performed a Hindi keyword search for "साधु पकड़ जनता" on Twitter to check if there are other videos from Maharashtra and came across a video tweeted by journalist Anurag Amitabh's tweet on August 7, 2022, containing similar visuals carried by the news channels.
Click here to view the tweet.
Amitabh, however, reported the video to be from Madhya Pradesh where some con men disguised as sadhus tried to rob a woman but got caught by locals who thrashed them. The similarity between the viral video and the video from Madhya Pradesh can be seen below.
The signage seen in the video is in Hindi as opposed to Marathi, which would be the case if the video was from Maharashtra.
Taking a cue, we ran a keyword search in Hindi related to the incident that took place at Mandideep in Raisen district, Madhya Pradesh and came across a Dainik Bhaskar report carrying a portion of the viral video as GIF, published on August 6, 2022.
According to the report, the incident took place when six con men were trying to flee after a robbing woman in Polaha village. The fraudsters, disguised as sadhus, were visiting village homes asking for alms. There they told a woman that her jewellery was possessed by spirits and that she needed to pray to it. The woman believed the men and got scared and handed over her jewellery and five thousand rupees in cash to the 'sadhus' to pray over. Later they gave her something to eat which made her unconscious.
The police arrested six people related to the case.
BOOM reached out to Additional Police Superintendent of Raisen district, Amrat Meena, for further confirmation about the video.
Speaking to BOOM, Meena said, "the incident took place under Noorganj police station near Mandideep. The con men misled the woman and asked her to pray to the jewellery. They fled later. When her husband came back, he realised that his wife has been cheated."
He further added, "earlier also, similar incidents were reported in the district. Her husband was aware of it. Then, the villagers caught the fraudsters and thrashed them after recovering the jewellery. The police registered a case after rescuing them. However, they were not child kidnappers."
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