A mock drill video from 2020 showing Chandigarh Police using an instrument intended to nab those violating COVID-19 restrictions, is being shared with a false claim that it shows the arrest of Delhi University Professor Ratan Lal by the Delhi Police for his social media post on the Gyanvapi mosque dispute.
Lal, a history professor with Delhi University's Hindu College was recently arrested by the Delhi Police and later granted bail on May 21, 2022, over a provocative social media post referring to the claims of a 'Shivling' found inside Varanasi's Gyanvapi mosque complex.
A Varanasi court on May 16, 2022, ordered the sealing a portion of Gyanvapi mosque after Hindu plaintiffs in the case claimed that a Shivling was found in the complex of the mosque after a court mandated survey of the premises. However, The Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee representing the Muslim side have claimed that the object described as Shivling is a fountain in the Wazu Khana (ablution) area.
In the viral video, police can be seen arresting a man with an instrument that comprises a five-feet-long metal rod attached to a tong-like structure.
The video is being shared with text in Hindi which claims, "Delhi Police has arrested Professor Ratan Lal of Delhi University for making shoddy and indecent remarks on Shivling."
(In Hindi - शिवलिंग पर घटिया और बेहूदा बयान देने वाला दिल्ली यूनिवर्सिटी के प्रोफेसर "रतन लाल" को दिल्ली पुलिस ने धरदबोचा!)
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The viral video is being shared with the same false claim on Facebook
BOOM found that the viral video is a mock drill from April 2020, and shows Chandigarh Police testing a five feet long metal rod for arresting those violating COVID-19 lockdown restrictions.
We broke the video into key-frames and ran a reverse image search using Goggle Images. The search results showed news reports on the viral video stating it was a drill by Chandigarh Police using a metal rod instrument to nab people violating COVID-19 protocols while maintaining social distancing.
The same video was also tweeted by the official Twitter handle of DGP Chandigarh Police on April 25, 2020, where a policeman can be seen demonstrating how the device functions. The tweet reads, "VIP Security wing of Chandigarh Police has devised this unique way of tackling non-cooperating corona suspects and curfew breakers. Great equipment, great drill !!! Way to go @ssptfcchd and Insp Manjit, HCt Gurdeep, HCt Pawan and Ct Usha"
This tweet includes a longer 1.07 minutes video where we can hear instructions given to the police and explain how the device would be used to nab lockdown violators. The viral video is a portion culled out of the video.
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