Two videos related to child abduction are doing rounds on social media. In the first video, the dead bodies of children lying on the ground can be seen. While in the other video, some sadhus can be seen sitting on the ground. Some police personnel can also be seen in the video. While sharing the videos, people on social media claimed that the people in the video were sadhus, who Police arrested for stealing kidneys in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh.
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 also commenting on the issue.
A Twitter user shared this video and wrote a caption in Hindi which reads, "बच्चों की किडनी निकाल बेचते रंगे हाथ पकड़े गए 28 साधु @Uppolice उत्तर प्रदेश में चल क्या रहा है इसका जवाब कौन देगा| कभी बाराबंकी तो कभी वाराणसी हर जगह से बच्चें चोरी किए जा रहे हैं, उनकी किडनी निकाल के बॉडी को जंगल में फेंक दिया जा रहा है."
[English Translation: 28 sadhus caught red-handed selling kidneys of children. @Uppolice Who will answer what is going on in Uttar Pradesh? Children are being stolen from everywhere in Barabanki and Varanasi, their bodies are being thrown into the forest by removing their kidneys.]
Another user wrote, "The incident is from Varanasi, where 28 sadhus were caught red-handed stealing kidneys and killing children in Beera Patti village."
[The Logical Indian fact Check team is not embedding the video due to its strong graphic nature. Below you can see the screenshot of the viral video.]
It is being widely shared on Facebook and Twitter with a similar claim.
Viral video shows UP Police arresting 28 Sadhus for stealing children's kidneys in Varanasi.
The Logical Indian fact-check team verified the viral claim and found it to be false. Both viral videos are not related to each other. Also, the sadhus were not arrested for stealing kidneys.
During the initial investigation, we did an open keyword search and came across a tweet done by the official handle of Varanasi Rural police dated 06 September 2022, in which they denied the viral claim. Varanasi Police clarified in its tweet that the viral video on social media is not of Varanasi rural. The tweet's caption reads, "Viral video refuted by Varanasi Rural Police with the misleading claim that sadhus were caught taking out kidneys from children."
The tweet mentioned, "A video is being viral on some social media platforms. It is being claimed that some sadhus were arrested for stealing children's kidneys. However, the reality is that on 01.09.2022, all the sadhus were brought to the police station and interrogated after the villagers suspected the sadhus of asking for alms by roaming in village Indrawar of the Baragaon area. Their names and addresses were verified from their place of residence during interrogation, and no criminal history was found against them. The popular video on social media is not of Varanasi rural. Varanasi Rural Police refutes the above misleading video. Please do not spread rumours by posting misleading videos otherwise, strict action will be taken against the concerned." Dainik Bhaskar also reported the same.
We also found the statement issued by the Superintendent of Police of Varanasi Rural. While interacting with the media, he refuted the viral claim.
We then tried to search for the viral video. On doing an open keyword search, we found the extended version of the viral video on a YouTube channel in which the same footage can be seen. In this video, one can see police interacting with Sadhus and the locals.
We also noticed that Varanasi Rural Police had mentioned the Baragaon police station in their tweet. Taking a hint from it, we contacted SHO of Baragaon police station.
He told us, "The viral video is of the Baragaon police area. These people came here from Chitrakoot to beg for alms at local places. 6 people had reached Beerapatti village asking for alms, where the villagers raised doubts about them. People had assaulted the sadhus alleging child theft. When we got information about it, the police reached the spot and saved those sadhus from the crowd. We then thoroughly investigated, after which they were released. Some anti-social elements circulated the fake news. Police is taking action against those spreading fake information."
We also searched for the children's dead bodies video but couldn't get any information about its location. We will update the story once we get any details.
It is evident from our investigation that the claim of UP Police arresting 28 Sadhus for stealing children's kidneys in Varanasi is false. The video is of sadhus who went to beg for alms in Beerapatti village of Varanasi. They were thrashed by the locals on suspicion of child theft. Hence, the viral claim is misleading.
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