On Sunday, India Today ran “exclusive” footage on the events that unfolded at New Delhi’s Jamia Millia Islamia on December 15. The channel’s clip came shortly after social media was flooded with CCTV footage showing the police beating students with lathis inside a reading room. The footage was given to the channel by the Delhi Police’s Special Investigation. It was billed as an “authentic” clip and used to claim that students entered the reading room with stones in their hands.
Several other news organisations carried the clip and claimed that the students had stones clasped in their hands. Among the English outlets were Times of India, Mirror Now, Republic Bharat, Times Now, The Quint and DNA. Hindi channels that made this claim included Zee News, Aaj Tak, India TV, NDTV India, News Nation.
Right-wing websites OpIndia and Swarajya carried similar reports.
The channel claimed that the student was carrying a stone each in both his hands. For the purpose of this fact-check, Alt News used a higher resolution video received from sources. The video is of the same footage played by India Today. Alt News slowed down the video and watched it frame-by-frame. We found that the student was holding a wallet in one of his hands, and a flat object (possibly a phone) in the other.
Here is the sequence of events. The student enters the room with a wallet in his right hand and a linear object (possibly a phone) in his left hand. At about 10 seconds, he goes out of the frame and comes back at 17 seconds when his right hand is empty. The brown colour wallet is now visible in his left hand.
The wallet is visible in several frames. It is most clear at the 1:22-minute mark when the student stretches out his arm.
Another clear shot of the wallet can be seen at 2:27 The two brown flaps of the wallet are distinctly noticeable and the gap in between is darker – a shade of black.
A flat object
The student holds a flat object in his other hand that could possibly be a mobile phone. It isn’t as distinctly noticeable as the wallet and users are advised to watch the complete video in loops to analyse it. There are a few pointers worth mentioning – a stone would typically be irregularly shaped. The object held in his hand is symmetrical and flat.
The video below shows the linear symmetry of the object held in his left hand.
The student who was portrayed in the media as a stone-pelter was merely carrying a wallet in one hand and a flat object, possibly a mobile phone, in the other. The same student was earlier falsely claimed to be the student who was injured in the January 30 shooting.
This article first appeared on Alt News.