Were members of ISKCON, the group devoted to worshipping Krishna, assaulted by police in West Bengal? So claims a video that has been circulating widely on social media platforms over the past couple of days. It claims that Krishna devotees were stopped from distributing copies of the Bhagwad Gita by the West Bengal police.
This Facebook post by a user has been viewed over 10,000 times since it was posted on May 7. Several individual users have shared the video. It has also been posted in the We Support Narendra Modi.
The video has also been uploaded and posted on Twitter.
The video in question has previously been debunked in April 2018. It had been shared with the claim that the incident had taken place in Goa, where Krishna devotees were attacked by members of the Christian community.
Alt News had found an article in a Goan news outlet heraldgoa.in dated November 26, 2008. The featured image of the article in heraldgoa.in has the same individual and police officer as can be seen in the video above.
However, the contents of the article on heraldgoa.in website were truncated, probably because the article is old and the website might have undergone changes in the past 10 years. However, we found the text of the same article in a 2013 Reddit thread.
The video depicts an incident that occurred in Goa in 2008, when a group of Russian members of ISKCON clashed with the police after the authorities confronted them after complaints by the locals.
The article explained: “According to Mapusa police, a group of Russians dressed in saffron attire were seen marching along the main streets of Mapusa chanting Hare Ram, Hare Krishna, equipped with dholak (drum) and a harmonium. Irritated by the singing and consequent traffic congestion that resulted along the main road opposite municipal market, some citizens informed the police about the nuisance.”
Two policemen were injured in the brawl and eight Russians had been booked on charges of rioting and assaulting police. The state was ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party at the time.
The claim that this video represents harassment of ISKCON devotees by West Bengal police is false. Voting is set to take place in several constituencies of West Bengal in the final two phases of polling on May 12 and May 19. In the run-up to the polling, there has been a spike in misinformation.
This article first appeared on AltNews.
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