Police are still clueless about the men responsible for circulating such fake videos.
One of the videos that led a mob beat five innocent men to death in Maharashtra’s Dhule, was not even from India. The video showed rows of children’s bodies. The narrative in Hindi said they were killed by gangs who wanted to harvest their organs. The video, however, was from Syria — it showed children who had died in a nerve gas attack five years ago.
Jency Jacob, the Managing Editor of Boomlive.in, a website which had called out the video said, “This hails from 2013 from a nerve gas attack that had happened in Syria. The bodies that you see are of Syrian children”.
“At that point of time, we had also done the story because there was another video of child kidnapping from Pakistan which has now become quite famous. Both these videos were going together,” he added.
The tweaking of these fake videos that have so far caused more than 20 deaths across the country, appear flawlessly professional.
Another video that led to severe beating of two men in Malegaon, was made in Marathi describes a kidnapping attempt in Sakri town of Dhule described. The police say there is no record of any such kidnapping attempt taking place.
It is doing the rounds in Dhule, Nashik and Nandurbar – remote areas, which ironically, do not have mobile network. In Maharsahtra alone, 10 people have died.
The messages of these videos had gone home — it started with a mob targeting a man who tried to speak to a six-year-old girl. The residents of Kakar Pada village had pounced on the men, threw stones at them and thrashed them with sticks and chappals.
Soon, a crowd of 3,000 had gathered from neighbouring villages. Over-riding the requests of a section of locals to hand over the men to the police, they thrashed them relentlessly. By the time the police reached, all five were dead.
While 23 people have been arrested for the crime, the police are still clueless about the men responsible for circulating such fake videos.
Today, after the centre asked states to curb such incidents of violence that have headlined across the world, the Devendra Fadnavis government asked the police to infiltrate WhatsApp groups while being undercover.
The police say they are trying to trace who produced the locally made video. Unofficially, a police source said they are already actively monitoring WhatsApp to ensure fake news is tackled before it actually kills.