A graphic video showing a woman being brutally assaulted by a group of people has been recently shared by Hindi news channel Zee Hindustan through its Twitter handle, as an example of anti-Hindu violence in Pakistan.
BOOM found the claim to be false; according to our investigation the woman in the video was assaulted due to a land dispute with her neighbours, and the incident happened over eight months ago in Pakistan's Punjab province. Furthermore, BOOM reached out to the victim Munawar Kanwal, who confirmed to us that she is a devout Muslim, and that her attackers were also Muslims. "Those who attacked me were Muslims, I am also a devout Muslim. So there is no question of attack on Hindus," Kanwal told BOOM.
Zee Hindustan posted the video on Twitter with a Hindu caption, which, when translated to English, reads, "Atrocities on Hindus are not stopping in Pakistan. A Hindu woman was beaten up with sticks on a minor issue. Hindu victims are not being heard anywhere."
Click here to view an archived version of Zee Hindustan's tweet.
Zee Hindustan's tweet was widely shared by multiple users, including actor Manoj Joshi, and the same video was also shared with a similar claim by Vishwa Hindu Parishad National Spokesperson Vinod Bansal.
BOOM took some keyframes from the video, and ran them through Google reverse image search, which led us to a tweet from January 9, 2022 by user Sahibzada Jawad Nizami.
The caption of this tweet read, "This is our society, The end of cruelty. In Sialkot police station Kotli Syed Ameer's Palora Kalan area, the footage of the influential people torturing and dragging a woman by the hair and dragging her by the hair has bowed the head of humanity in shame."
Taking cue from this caption, we ran a keyword search with "sialkot woman publicly beaten", and came across an article by Pakistani news channel Geo TV, which included a video segment that carried the viral video. According to the article, the woman in the video was attacked due to an alleged land dispute.
Punjab Police's official Twitter handle also put out a statement with the pictures of those who were arrested.
Yet another article on this matter by Pakistani newspaper Dawn confirmed the details provided in the Geo TV article, and provided the name of the victim as Munawar Kanwal.
According to the article, the police registered a case against 15 people, and arrested nine people - Arif, Timor Qasim, Noor Hussain, Haider Ali, Mubashir Ali, Zeeshan Ali, Asad Ali, Sajjad Hussain and Yasmin Bibi. Going by the name of the people who were arrested, we could ascertain that the perpetrators were Muslim.
However, we could not conclusively ascertain the religion of the victim through her name. We continued to search for details, and refined our search parameters by searching in Urdu (using Google Translate), and including the name of the victim.
Looking through a number of search results, we finally stumbled upon an article by News360TV, which provided the exact details as the articles by GeoTV and Dawn. However, the News360TV article also contained a copy of an FIR in Urdu.
BOOM reached out to Pakistani journalist Muhammad Omer Hayat, who works as a news editor at Dawn, who verified for us that the details in the FIR did in fact correspond to the assault incident in question. Hayat also confirmed to us that the name of the victim, as mentioned in the FIR, was Munawar Kanwal, and also highlighted to us that her phone number was provided in the report.
BOOM reached out to Kanwal, who confirmed to us that she was indeed a victim of assault due to an alleged land dispute earlier this year. Upon hearing of the claims around the video of her assault being shared as an example of violence against Hindus in Pakistan, Kanwal rubbished the communal angle and said she was a Muslim.
"Those who attacked me were Muslims, I am also a devout Muslim. So there is no question of attack on Hindus," Kanwal told BOOM.
Zee Hindustan has since deleted the tweet, but is yet to provide a clarification on the false claims made in the deleted tweet.
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