A disturbing video showing a teenage boy being brutally whipped in Syria is being shared online with a false claim that it shows a school teacher physically abusing a student in Gujarat’s Valsad district.
The video shows the young boy stripped to his underwear being whipped by a person who is not in the frame. The boy’s back is covered with lacerations from the inhuman beating. He also appears to be bleeding from his forehead.
The audio of the clip appears to have been deliberately distorted.
The misleading caption with the clip that is viral on WhatsApp, claims, “none of the numbers and groups on your WhatsApp list should be left out. Send this video to everyone. This is a teacher from Valsad’s RM VM School. Share is so widely that the teacher is suspended and the school is shut down.”
(Hindi: “आप के whatsapp पे जितने भी नंबर एवं ग्रुप हैं एक भी छूटने नही चाहिए, ये वीडियो सबको भेजिए ये वलसाड के RM VM SCHOOL का टीचर है इसको इतना शेयर करो की ये टीचर और स्कूल दोनों बंद हो जाए ।”)
BOOM has decided not to upload the clip as it involves violence against a minor. You can view the Facebook post here.
The video was also tweeted by Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani with the same caption. While Mevani has made no claims in his tweet, he tagged the official Twitter handle of the Prime Minister’s Office demanding a reply.
Mevani, in another tweet, inquired about the veracity of the video.
Through a reverse image search on the video, BOOM found that the clip is from Syria.
We also found an article dated February 27, 2018 which reported that the boy was kidnapped by a group of the Free Syrian Army in Dara, Syria, to extort money from his parents. The video was originally sent by the FSA members to the kidnapped boy’s parents, according to the website.
In the original video the boy appears to be crying and in Arabic.
Read more about the incident here.
Al-Masdar News had tweeted the same video on Feb 27 last year.
BOOM also came across another article in Arabic which had reported the rescue of the boy and provided more details on him. Read the article here.
The 9-year-old boy, Abdel Aziz al-Khatib, was released due to the intervention of several small factions in the area who came together to plan the boy’s rescue operation.
The group had also posted a video on Facebook after the boy was rescued from the clutches of FSA.
The Free Syrian Army or the FSA, according to the group’s official website, is an armed opposition faction fighting to bring down Bashar al-Assad’s regime. It was founded in 2011 by members of Syrian army who had defected the forces. Syria has been at the center of a crippling civil war since 2011.
Interestingly, there are several child-torture videos on social media in India with the same caption mentioning the same name – ‘RMVM School’, Valsad.
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Sumit is a fact checker and the News Editor of Boom's Hindi wing. In the six years of his journalistic career, he has worked with the New Indian Express, Times of India and Deccan Chronicle. The dynamic nature of digital media finally made him take the leap from print to online, and don the hat of a digital detective.
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