Video Of Domestic Violence From Pak Shared In India With False Communal Spin

Local police have confirmed to fact-checkers in Pakistan that there is no communal angle to the crime, as the woman and her attackers were Hindus.

A viral video, showing a woman being dragged by a few men and being forced into a car, is being shared on social media by BJP leaders Manjinder Singh Sirsa and Ashwini Upadhyay, and reported by certain mainstream media publications, with the claim that she is being kidnapped in front of a court in Pakistan for being Hindu.

BOOM found these claims to be misleading; while the incident did happen in Pakistan, it shows an instance of domestic dispute between a woman and the family of her husband. Furthermore, local police have confirmed to fact-checkers in Pakistan that there is no communal angle to the crime, as the woman and her attackers are Hindu.

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Bharatiya Janata Party leader Manjinder Singh Sirsa shared the video on Twitter with the caption, "Stunned to silence! Look how a Hindu woman is abducted in daylight, out-side session courts Umarkot,Sindh-Pakistan. She is screaming for help but they aren't afraid of any police or action and they dragged her from hair & put her in car."

Sirsa's tweet insinuates that the woman is being kidnapped for being a Hindu, a minority religion in Pakistan. This was further resonated by another BJP leader Ashwini Upadhyay, who made a similar claim sharing this video.

Click here to view an archive of the tweet.

Sirsa's tweet was picked up and reported by some mainstream media organisations like Times Now, Hindustan Times, One India Hindi and Republic TV, with the claim that a Hindu woman was being abducted in broad daylight, suggesting that there was a communal angle to the crime. It was also shared by social media handle Voice of Pakistan Minority with a similar claim.

In the Times Now report, the anchor asks reporter Pradeep Dutta to state the details of the case, to which he responds that no action has been initiated against the assailants in the video. He goes on to state how it shows the "story of the minorities", suggesting that the video is an example of persecution of minority religions like Hinduism in Pakistan.

In the Republic TV report, the anchor calls Sirsa himself, who claims that the woman in the video is a married 19-year-old woman from the Meghwar community, who was allegedly abducted, raped and forcefully married to her abductor.

Fact Check

Taking cues from the captions and claims made by Sirsa and the media reports, we looked for news reports from Pakistan with keywords "Umerkot woman dragged outside court".

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We were led to a couple of news reports by Dawn and Pakistan Daily about a woman being dragged and humiliated outside a court in Umerkot.

The report by Pakistan Daily, titled 'Married woman faces humiliation for approaching the court', carried an image, which matched the video shared by Sirsa.

The article mentioned that the woman in the video is Tejhan Bheel, a 40-year-old woman, who, following a clash with her husband Herchand Bheel, had approached the court for dissolution of her marriage. It said that when she was returning home from the court, she was attacked by her spouse, along with seven other people, who "dragged her on a road, pulling her hairs, humiliated her (sic)".

The article by Dawn also mentioned that when she "raised hue and cry", the police came to her rescue, following which her attackers fled the scene. The police managed to arrest one of the assailant, who was identified as Hemo Bheel.

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BOOM also reached out to Pakistan-based fact-checker Haseem uz Zaman, from Soch Fact Check. On seeing the video, Zaman told us that he had reached out to the Superintendent of Police of Umerkot District, Mukhtiar Ahmed Khashkheli, who denied the communal angle claimed by Sirsa, and confirmed the details presented in the news articles by Dawn and Pakistan Daily.

"It was a matter between her and her husband. She wanted to file for separation. There was no connection to religion. The couple went to the court and he wanted to forcefully take her afterwards. They were both Hindu. This was not a religious matter", Khashkheli told Zaman.

We also found a tweet from Pakistan's National Assembly member Lal Malhi, who confirmed the details provided in the Dawn and Pakistan Daily articles, and the police statement. Malhi reiterated that the accused in the video were not Muslims, but relatives of the woman being attacked, and part of the Bheel community. He also stated that the accused have been booked, and arrests have been made.

Additional reporting by Sk Badiruddin.

Updated On: 2021-12-24T15:21:27+05:30
Claim :   Video shows woman being kidnapped in Pakistan outside Umerkot for being Hindu.
Claimed By :  Manjinder Sing Sirsa, Times Now, Republic TV, One India Hindi, Hindustan Times
Fact Check :  Misleading
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