Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Unrelated brawl footage falsely portrayed as ‘assault on Indian parliament member’

A video circulating online does not show a member of India’s opposition Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) being attacked by an aide of the party’s leader Arvind Kejriwal. A police spokesman said it was filmed at a court family mediation centre before parliament member Swati Maliwal alleged she was attacked.

“This was bound to happen, Swati Maliwal has been beaten up,” read part of a post on social media site X that shared the video of a group of people scrapping.

It said the clip was filmed at the official residence of Arvind Kejriwal, Delhi’s chief minister and head of India’s opposition Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).

Maliwal — an AAP politician and former chair of the Delhi Commission for Women — accused Kejriwal’s aide Bibhav Kumar of assaulting her in Kejriwal’s residence on May 13 (archived link).

Kumar has denied the allegation and said it could have been “done at the behest” of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as the country held marathon general elections (archived link).

AAP leader Kejriwal is a top opponent of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and was ordered to return to jail once voting ended over a long-running corruption probe.

<span>Screenshot of the false post taken on May 16, 2024. </span>

Screenshot of the false post taken on May 16, 2024.

The video was shared in similar posts elsewhere on X and on Facebook.

Unrelated video

However, the video showed a scuffle between three women and two men.

A reverse image search on Google found similar videos in Instagram posts here and here which said it was filmed at the mediation centre at Delhi’s Tis Hazari District Court (archived links here and here).

The mediation centre handles cases ranging from family disputes to insurance claims referred by the courts (archived link).

Indian journalist Atul Krishnan posted the video on X on May 12, a day before the alleged attack on Maliwal (archived link).

<span>Screengrab comparison of the false post (left) and the original post (right)</span>

Screengrab comparison of the false post (left) and the original post (right)

A representative for the Sabzi Mandi police station near Tis Hazari Court also refuted the claim.

The police officer told AFP the incident happened on May 9, 2024 at the Tis Hazari Court Family Mediation Centre and involved two quarrelling families.

“It has nothing to do with the incident involving Swati Maliwal,” the officer said.

AFP has debunked more misinformation around India’s elections here.

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