News reports claiming that a mob of 60,000 had attacked the police during the mob violence on August 11 at Bengaluru, originated from a video of an unverified witness account, published by news agency ANI.
The web edition of Hindustan Times (HT) and right-wing magazine Swarajya took the quote and ran it as a story with the unverified figure of 60,000 in their respective headlines. While HT has taken out the unverified figure from its article and headline and issued a correction, Swarajya is yet to do the same at the time of writing this article.
A source in Bengaluru City Police told BOOM that the rough estimate of the number of people in the mob was around 2,000. A similar figure was also confirmed by Zia Nomani, member of Swaraj India political party, who was present at the scene, and said that the mob consisted of an estimate of 2,000 - 3,000 people.
The neighbourhoods of KJ Halli and DJ Halli at the Kaval Byrasandra area were marred in violence on Tuesday night, which claimed at least three lives and injured many, including police personnel. The violence, which also spilled over to the Palakeshi Nagar area, was started by local Muslim residents over a communally charged social media post targetting Prophet Muhammad, allegedly posted by the nephew of a Congress legislator. Public property, including police vehicles were set ablaze by the mob.
The Unverified Figure And How It Spread
BOOM came across an article by Swarajya on the Bengaluru violence, titled, "Up to 60000 rioters were involved in attack on Bengaluru cops and police station claims eyewitness." Click here to view an archived version of the article.
The article provided Hindustan Times as the only source for the figure of 60,000 to describe the size of the mob. We observed that the Hindustan Times article only provided a single witness account as the source for the figure, without any confirmation from any official sources. Click here to view an archived version of the article.
A short while later, we noticed changes in the HT article, with the unverified figures being edited out entire. Initially, we did not notice a correction or notice regarding this change in the article, as evidenced by an updated archived version of the article.
"The eyewitness account could not be independently verified, and was removed. We have added a note on that change, and that should reflect on all platforms," he said.
#WATCH Bengaluru: Sharif, belonging to Civil Defence & an eye-witness to DJ Halli Police Station's vandalisation, comes to record his statement; says, "We're from Civil Defence & had come to protect Police. It was public's fault. This (Police Station) is like my temple,my masjid" pic.twitter.com/XeVyaK5Z1O— ANI (@ANI) August 12, 2020
We accessed the latest version of the article, and found that it reflected the edits. "A previous version of the story had quoted an eyewitness who claimed 50,000-60,000 people were part of the mob that had gathered on Monday night. This figure was later found to be inaccurate and removed from the story," it read.
However, the Swarajya article still remains unchanged at the time of writing this article, and carries the unverified figure
Updated On: 2020-08-14T16:49:00+05:30
Claim : A mob of 60,000 people attacked the police in Bengaluru on August 11, 2020.
Claimed By : ANI, Hindustan Times, Swarajya
Fact Check : False