An incident from Uttar Pradesh’s Gonda district, where a Hindu youth was set ablaze by four Muslims on May 14, 2019 has sparked a series of posts on social media, many of which have used an old and unrelated photo to show the victim.
The viral posts – a compilation of two photos, aremisleading as one of the photos is a screenshot from a video that goes back to at least 2013.
BOOM has not been able to trace the other image yet.
The caption with the viral post reads, “Four ‘messengers of peace’ – Imram, Ramzan, Nizamuddin, Tufail – had set ablaze a Hindu youth in Gonda of Uttar Pradesh. Though the four jihadis have been arrested, but where is the the gang which keeps screaming mob lynching.”
(Translated from Hindi: उत्तर प्रदेश के गोंडा में एक हिन्दू युवा #विष्णुगोस्वामी को चार शांतिदूतों इमरान-रमज़ान-निज़ामुद्दीन-तुफैल ने पहले पेट्रोल से नहलाया फिर आग लगा दी हालांकि चारों जिहादी गिरफ्तार हैं पर #मॉब_लिंचिंग चिल्लाने वाला गैंग कहाँ है |)
Two days after the incident, Gonda police’s official handle tweeted an advisory on May 16, 2019 against spreading fake news related to the incident.
The post has been shared from several right-wing pages on Facebook.
BOOM contacted the Gonda police for more details.
“All the accused have been arrested. They belonged to the Muslim community but there is no communal angle involved,” a police official told BOOM on condition of anonymity.
“It started with a minor altercation which went out of proportion. We have ensured that communal violence does not engulf the district,” the officer further said.
BOOM ran a reverse image search on one of the photos used in the viral post and found a YouTube link of a similar video dating back to 2013. The photo in the viral post is a screenshot from the same video. BOOM has not been able to trace the video yet. Owing to the graphic content, we have not included the video, which can be viewed here.
BOOM could not trace the second image which shows a man with severe burn injuries. Gonda police declined to comment whether the image was from the same incident.
According to newspaper reports, the victim Vishnu Kumar Goswami had gone to the Gonda-Ayodhya highway on May 14 to pick up his father who was lying there in an inebriated state. There, the father-son duo had an argument which escalated into a fist fight.
A group of youngsters who were standing nearby tried to intervene and settle the issue but Vishnu Goswami reportedly attacked them too. In the brawl that ensued, the youngsters doused him with petrol and set him on fire.
The accused have been identified as Imran, Tufail, Ramzan and Nizamuddin. No other details about the accused were available at the time of writing this story.
Since the accused are from the Muslim community, heavy security has been deployed in the area to prevent communal tensions from flaring up.
Meanwhile, the Gonda police has also uploaded a video of the victim’s cousin Raj Kumar Goswami requesting the public to maintain peace in the area.
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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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