A video showing people in the garb of sadhus being severely assaulted by a mob is being widely circulated across WhatsApp. The video is being circulated in the context of a recent child kidnapping from Mathura railway station.
On August 24, police arrested Vineeta Agarwal, a BJP corporator from Firozabad, for allegedly buying a baby boy from a gang of child kidnappers. Reportedly, Agarwal and her husband Krishna Murari Agrawal had allegedly paid Rs 1.80 lakh for the baby as they wanted a male child even though they had a daughter. The incident led to panic amongst the residents of Mathura, with Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav commenting on the issue as well.
The viral video shows a mob lashing people dressed in the garb of sadhus with sticks. The claim being circulated with these videos is that the video shows child kidnappers impersonating sadhus being caught and assaulted.
The Logical Indian fact check team verified the viral claim and found it to be false. The viral video is of local trashing a group of thieves who were dressed as sadhus.
We used InVid's Keyframe Analysis tool to isolate the keyframes of the viral video. After isolating the keyframes, we conducted a reverse image search on the keyframes which led us to this video report published by IBC24, a news outlet.
From the 21 seconds mark of the video report, the footage from the viral video can be seen.
The video's description says, "Robbers were disguised as monks in Raisen, Madhya Pradesh. Villagers recognized them and beat them with sticks, they had to be hospitalized."
As per the video report, a woman was tricked by six persons in the guise of sadhus. She was made to smell a substance that made her faint and was looted by the culprits afterwards. The mob caught and beaten up these men after the woman regained consciousness and alerted her family.
Taking this as a cue, we conducted a keyword search with relevant keywords such as 'Raisen Madhya Pradesh sadhus'. We came across a report by OneIndia published on August 7, 2022. The report states that in Polaha village of Mandideep in Raisen district, Madhya Pradesh, six persons disguised as sadhus robbed a villager in the pretext of religious cures. They fooled a woman and robbed her of valuables and escaped.
The OneIndia report quotes the police noting the names of the accused as, Bacchu Joshi, Mithilesh Goswami, Vidayak Goswami, Lovelesh Goswami, Gulab Joshi, and Ramswaroop Goswami, who are all residents of Chitrakoot in Uttar Pradesh.
We also came across a report by Dainik Bhaskar published on August 7, 2022. The report gave more details about the incident quoting Mandideep police station in-charge Manoj Singh. He said that on 5th August, the villagers made food and offerings to the six persons dressed as sadhus. On 6th August, the persons in the guise of sadhus started travelling from house to house asking for alms and reached the house of Manoj Lowanshi, and tricked Manoj's wife, Sarita. They stole the jewellery in the bundle and gave it to the sadhus. Along with this, five thousand rupees were also kept. After a while, the lady was fed Bhabhuti.
The Dainik Bhaskar report notes that under the pretext of pooja in the village, they asked the woman for gold and silver jewellery for the ceremony. Then, they stole those ornaments and fled. The images in the Bhaskar report match with the footage of the viral video.
Reportedly, as the woman's husband and the villagers realised the theft, they started looking for and chasing the sadhus on bikes. The culprits were caught and beat fiercely. Afterwards, they were handed over to the police. Navbharat Times also reported on the incident.
In our Fact Check, we also came across a tweet by Sitapur Police published on August 26, 2022. The tweet's caption reads, "Rumors of child thieves are spreading in the district, please do not pay attention to such rumours. There is an appeal to the general public not to take the law in their own hands. If any information is received, then immediately contact your nearest police station/outpost area and dial 112. In this connection, the following byte is given by the Superintendent of Police, Sitapur."
In the byte, the SP Sitarpur appealed to locals to not pay attention to rumours of kidnapping spreading across WhatsApp and to inform the police about such rumours. "There have been several meetings of Gram Pradhan's and Chowkidars in police stations of the district to raise awareness about educating people not to pay heed to these rumours. We will take action against those who take the law into their own hands," SP Sitapur stated.
In our Fact Check, we found that the video shows six persons being assaulted by an enraged mob after they tricked a woman and stole valuables from her. The incident took place in Polaha village of Mandideep in Raisen district, Madhya Pradesh on 6th August.
The persons impersonating sadhus were beaten up by a village mob and handed over to the police. SP Sitapur appealed to locals not to pay attention to rumours of child abduction gangs spreading on WhatsApp and to inform the police about such rumours. Thus, we can ascertain that the viral claim is misleading.
If you have any news that you believe needs to be fact-checked, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or WhatsApp at 6364000343.
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