A shocking video of a brutal assault on a temple priest in Haryana has been shared on Facebook with false captions linking the incident to Gujarat.
BOOM found that the incident is from a village in Fatehabad district of Haryana. Station House Officer of Bhattu Kalan police station, where the incident took place, confirmed to BOOM that the four men accused of attacking the temple priest with a cricket bat and filming the incident have been arrested.
The viral video shows a man brutally assaulting another man with a cricket bat even as he tries to save himself. While the man pleads the attacker to let him go, another person records the incident on a mobile phone.
A Hindi caption with the viral post translates to 'A temple priest in Gujarat was thrashed by villagers after he was found molesting a girl'.
(Hindi: "गुजरात मे एक मंदिर के पुजारी द्वारा एक लड़की से छेड़छाड़ करने पर मंदिर के पुजारी की मालिश करते हुए ग्रामीण")
Since the video is graphic in nature, BOOM has not shared it here. Click here for its archived version.
The video had also been shared with a Bangla caption which translates to 'The correct address of these Islam jihadists are required. We will enter their houses and beat them up — Sanjayda, Rashtriya Bajrang Dal, South 24 Parganas. NB: Now thet are beating up the priest, tomorrow they will come for you. Take up arms when there is time'.
(Bangla: এই ইসলামী জেহাদিদের সঠিক ঠিকানা চাই | এদের ঘরে ঢুকে গিয়ে মারা হবে)
However, tweeting from its verified Twitter handle, West Bengal police has called the video misleading.
A video of Haryana is being circulated as of West Bengal on WhatsApp and FB with a mischievous message. Legal action is being initiated.— West Bengal Police (@WBPolice) November 5, 2020
Please do not forward the misleading video containing mischievous message#FakeNewsAlert pic.twitter.com/MCjN9TTs7R
The video is quite viral on Facebook with Hindi captions claiming that the locals brutally assaulted the priest as he had molested a woman.
BOOM did a reverse image search on a screenshot of the viral image and found news reports mentioning that the incident was from Bhattu Kalan in Fatehabad district of Haryana.
According to a Dainik Bhaskar report, the incident is from November 3, when a group of men had assaulted a temple priest in Dhabi Kalan village with a cricket bat and recorded the incident. The priest, who hails from Madhya Pradesh, was admitted to a hospital in Mathura before being shifted to MP. The report stated that the men attacked the priest because he had refused to keep their bat inside the temple.
Some news reports also stated that the priest was harassing a woman over phone calls which resulted in the attack by locals.
BOOM also found a tweet from the verified Twitter handle of Fatehabad Police stating that the four accused involved in the attack have been arrested.
फतेहाबाद पुलिस ने बीते दिनों ढाबी कलां गांव में पुजारी के साथ मार पिटाई कर वीडियो वायरल करने के मामले में चार युवकों को किया गिरफ्तार और वारदात में प्रयुक्त क्रिकेट बैट व मोबाईल बरामद किया। @cmohry @anilvijminister @nsvirk @police_haryana pic.twitter.com/VeWvzGgPJG— Fatehabad Police (@fatehabadpolice) November 6, 2020
BOOM then called the Station House Officer of Bhattu Kalan police station who confirmed that the incident was from the same village.
"Actually there is a temple and there is a playground close to the temple. There was some misunderstanding when the men were keeping their bat and other equipment in the temple," the SHO told BOOM.
When we asked about the molestation angle in the entire episode, the SHO said it has not been established so far. "The pujari is from Madhya Pradesh and when he is back, that angle can be investigated. Nothing has been established so far," the cop said.
Another cop stationed at the Bhattu Kalan police station told BOOM that the priest was assaulted after the men allegedly found an audio clip in his mobile phone. "There was an audio clip in his phone which the men found and attacked him," Nihal Singh, Suraksha Abhikarta at Bhattu Kalan police station told BOOM.
When we asked him more about the audio clip, Sing said that it will be clear once the priest in interrogated but he is in Madhya Pradesh now.
BOOM was not able to independently verify the actual motive of the attack.
BOOM also accessed the online FIR copy of the incident and found that a complaint had been registered against three persons on November 3, 2020. Some Facebook posts (archive) claimed the assailants were Muslims, which is false.
Updated On: 2020-11-06T18:56:03+05:30
Claim : A temple priest in Gujarat attacked for molesting a girl
Claimed By : Facebook pages
Fact Check : False