A video of Harish Mishra, an Uttar Pradesh Congress leader speaking sarcastically about the prime minister, home minister and the recent violence at Jawaharlal Nehru University, is being falsely shared claiming that Mishra is a Bharatiya Janata Party leader.
BOOM spoke to Mishra who confirmed that he is a Congress leader and was not threatening protesters but "drawing attention to how BJP government functions".
The viral video shows Mishra talking to a reporter from a local Varanasi based channel Times Of Today.
"Is there any journalist who will ask about why students from various universities are getting beaten and thrown into jails?" Mishra says in the video. "If anybody speaks against Narendra Modi, they will be beaten in their houses and may even be killed. Nobody can speak against Modi-Shah," he further says in the video.
Sanghi proudly and openely admits it was orders from shah and modi to beat students.. pic.twitter.com/iSmK58swi3— Retweet Sarkar℠ (@goslowplz) January 9, 2020
BOOM was able to ascertain that the video is of Harish Mishra, a Congress reader from Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh. Mishra who also goes by 'Banaras Wale Mishra Ji' is said to be a popular figure in Varanasi and has many speeches where he talks about BJP and Narendra Modi, in a sarcastic manner.
We found the original video uploaded by a local Varanasi based news channel called Times Of Today. The video uploaded on January 6, 2020 is 20 minute long and has Mishra first criticising Modi and Shah and the Citizenship Amendment Act and the National Register of Citizens.
In fact, Mishra also says in the video, "Modi sarkar aur Amit Shah ka jo gundagardi hai woh ghutne pe tek denge aur yeh sarkar chodh ke bhaag jaayenge."
He also says, "There will come a day when Modi and Shah will be questioned over their policies and how they run this country".
Watch the full speech below:
BOOM also noticed that Mishra speaks sarcastically throughout the interview but maintains his criticism of BJP, Modi, Shah and the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarth Parishad. At around 3.17, Mishra starts the interview accusing ABVP of planning an attack on JNU students and professors. He then says that "BJP says the people are being brainwashed but why don't they say that when the same people elected them to power in the elections?" He goes on to accuse the party "of having a history of violence and riots get their point across."
While the clipped bit is not part of the full video uploaded by Times of Today on January 6, 2020, the channel uploaded the same on Friday morning. We reached out to Pankaj Singh, the reporter who interviewed Mishra who confirmed the same. "Mishra is a member of Congress and very popular in the area. The way he speaks is sarcastic but people like it," he said. He further added that the viral clip did not make it to the full interview but was uploaded later by the channel to avoid any misunderstanding.
We then contacted Mishra who confirmed that it is him in the video. When asked whether he is a member of BJP, Mishra laughed and said, "Hum Congress ke member the aur rahenge." "You watch my videos and you will know what I feel about BJP". Mishra confirmed to BOOM that he was a former district president of Congress Seva Dal, the grassroots wing of Congress. "I was a former leader in the Congress Seva Dal and now I am a member of Varanasi unit of the Congress party itself."
Asked whether he was being sarcastic in the video, Mishra says, "Isn't that the reality? Everybody who questions the government is silenced, beaten or sent to jail. I am just stating the reality. They do such acts and it is my duty to call them out for it."
VIDEOS OF HARISH MISHRA VIRAL IN THE PAST
This is not the first time that Mishra's interview has gone viral. In November, a video of Mishra speaking to the same channel was widely shared claiming, 'BJP leader threatens journalists".
The viral video had Mishra telling the reporter that he should be "careful of talking against Modi and Shah or he would also be killed or beaten".
Mishra had in November told BOOM, "I was informing the reporter who was interviewing me that he needs to be careful given how the current government treats journalists. The message in the video is that any journalist who stands up against this government does so at a huge risk."
Mishra a former leader in the Congress Seva Dal, has been with the Congress party for many years now. Rajeshwar Singh Patel, Varanasi district President, Congress confirmed to BOOM that Mishra is a member. "Mishra was with the Seva Dal unit and then heading the Youth wing. Now, he doesn't hold any official designation but is an active member of the party," Patel said.
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