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‘Fact-checkers’ promote old videos to peddle post-poll violence denialism

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Violence has swept West Bengal since Sunday this week after the election results confirmed a TMC victory. Several cases of violent incidents have been reported from across the state as goons and supporters of the TMC went on a rampage against their political opponents, especially against the BJP, assaulting and allegedly killing them, vandalising and ransacking their offices. Social media is replete with videos of the violence that pervaded the state in the wake of the assembly election results.

As videos of blood-curdling violence started doing the rounds on the internet, the nation’s attention was drawn towards the rampant savagery exhibited by the TMC supporters against their political rivals in West Bengal. Questions were being raised of the TMC government in the state for condoning the violence and using it as a tool to inflict retribution against their opponents.

However, no sooner did the videos of the violence in West Bengal went viral, some ‘fact checkers’ such as Alt News and Boom Live rushed to the defense of the TMC by promoting old videos of violence and thereby discrediting the reports of post-poll violence emanating from West Bengal.

Alt News promotes old videos to call into question claims of post-poll violence in West Bengal

Alt News recently published an article in which it claimed that an old video of a mob attacking police in Odisha is being shared as post-poll violence in West Bengal. The article said the old video was used to spread “misinformation” on social media and add “fuel to the fire”.

Snapshot of Alt News article promoting an old video to discredit violence in West Bengal

Needless to say, this article by Alt News was shared with the express purpose of casting aspersions on the reports of violence taking place in West Bengal. By alleging that old videos are in circulation, Alt News attempted to subtly insinuate that there was no post-poll violence in the state and that a malicious campaign was run on social media to tarnish the TMC government.

In its pursuit to raise doubts about the authenticity of violence in West Bengal, Alt News promoted irrelevant and old videos from the past so that they can be ‘fact-checked’ and people could be misled into believing that violence in West Bengal is an exaggeration, or even worse—a propaganda campaign.

Incidentally, soon after the videos of grisly violence carried out by TMC goons against their political rivals surfaced on the internet, many social media users, who are aware of Alt News’ shenanigans, foreboded that the so-called fact-checker would soon start promoting and ‘fact-checking’ old videos to provide a cover for the brutalities carried out in Bengal. Their prediction turned out to be true as Alt News tried to invalidate the claims of violence in West Bengal with its ‘fact-check’ of an old video.

This has been the typical modus operandi of Alt News for some time now where they try to discredit a narrative by leaning on ‘fact-checks’ of old videos and highlighting insignificant aspects while brushing damning facts under the rug.

For instance, during the start of the pandemic last year, a video of a vegetable seller applying saliva on his produce had gone viral on the internet. Alt News had then tried to counter the video by claiming that it was from February, before the coronavirus hit India. The fact that he was applying saliva to vegetable was an inconsequential nugget of information to Alt News. Rather, they were more interested in contesting the date on which the incident took place. 

Here too, they have selectively picked up obscure videos posted on the internet, and ‘fact-checked’ it to imply that the claims of violence in West Bengal are fake or are wildly exaggerated.

Besides Alt News, another so-called fact-checking website Boom Live was also found promoting an old video to suggest that the violence in West Bengal is blown out of proportion. In its article, Boom Live stated that an old and edited video showing people carrying weapons and dancing to a remixed version of ‘Khela Hobe’ is being passed off as a recent one. This again is a cunning ruse to cast aspersions on the actual violence currently underway in West Bengal and misleading readers into believing that old videos of violence are in circulation on the internet.

Source: Boom Live

Instances of post-poll violence in West Bengal following election results

Contrary to what left propganda websites like Alt News and Boom Live would have us believe, West Bengal was in grips of violence ever since the election results trend started titling in the favour of the ruling dispensation Trinamool Congress.

Soon after the Trinamool Congress (TMC) surpassed the BJP in Vidhan Sabha elections, the goons of the ruling dispensation unleashed violence against their political opponents. While the TMC had secured 213 seats, the BJP managed to win 77 constituencies. There have been multiple incidents of violence inflicted by TMC goons from several places across the state.

Petitions have been filed in the Supreme Court over the matter and the Congress party and the Left Front have accused TMC of attacking their cadres as well.

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IDF says demolished building that housed Al Jazeera was used by Hamas

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The Israel Defense Forces have issued a statement over the demolition of the Al Jalaa Building that housed the offices of Al Jazeera and other international media houses. The IDF has said that the building was being used by Islamic terror group Hamas, making it a valid military target.

The IDF said on social media, “Hamas has turned residential areas in the Gaza Strip into military strongholds. It uses tall buildings in Gaza for multiple military purposes such as intelligence gathering, planning attacks, command and control, and communications.”

Source: Twitter

“When Hamas uses a tall building for military purposes, it becomes a lawful military target,” it added. It stated further, “The Israel Defense Forces struck a number of such buildings in recent days, but before we did so, we took steps to try and ensure that civilians would not be harmed.”

Significantly, the IDF said, “All the multi-story buildings targeted by the IDF were used for military purposes within each building.”

Earlier, Israel had demolished the Al Jalaa building that housed the offices of Al Jazeera and other international media houses. A warning had been provided one hour prior to the demolition. The demolition comes during a phase of heightened tensions between Israel and Palestine.

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12 Killed, Over 300 Injured in Tornado Strikes in China’s Wuhan and Suzhou Cities

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Twelve people were killed and over 300 injured when two powerful tornadoes walloped Chinese cities of Wuhan and Suzhou on Friday night, leaving a trail of destruction of houses and factories. Eight people were killed and over 230 injured when a tornado, packing winds of 23.9 meters per second, ripped through the Caidian District of Wuhan on Friday night, toppling some construction site sheds and snapping a large number of trees.

The tornado collapsed 27 houses, while another 130 were damaged. Two tower cranes and 8,000 square meters of construction site sheds also suffered damage, state run Xinhua news agency reported.

The tornado blew down power lines, triggering a power outage that has affected 26,600 households in Wuhan. The local power grid has sent staff to fix the glitches and repair works are still going on.

Four people were killed and 19 others injured after a tornado hit the city of Suzhou in east China’s Jiangsu Province on Friday, according to local authorities.

In Suzhou, the tornado damaged 84 households and 17 companies. It also caused power outages, the bureau added.

The tornadoes came as a surprise to the locals as it is quite rare in the region.

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On Day of Eid, Muslim Youths in Bhopal Help Poor Hindu Man Cremate His Mother

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As people across the country celebrated Eid on Friday, some Muslim youths in Bhopal helped out a Hindu man whose mother had succumbed to an illness even as most of the people decided to stay away for fear of contracting COVID-19. The only son of the family was clueless when his 80-year-old ailing mother died on Friday and no one came forward to help him.

The Muslim youths not only helped the man cremate his mother but also helped him arrange an ambulance for taking the body to local crematorium. The incident happened in Muslim dominated Koh-e-Fiza area of Bhopal.

Locals were busy in Eid preparations after offering Namaz when they learnt that Sundariya Bai, a Chhattisgarh native, died after prolonged illness. The woman used to live with her son in a shanty. The son, who works as a labourer, had no money to cremate his mother.

On learning about his situation, local youths arranged an ambulance to take the body to Chhola crematorium, and also bore the expenses of the last rites performed in accordance with the Hindu tradition.

Md. Saddam, one of the youths who helped in carrying the body, told News18 that religion only preaches one to help other irrespective of religious lines. By sharing someone’s sorrow on Eid, we only engaged in ibadat, he added. Naheen Khan, another local who was engaged in the kind act, claimed that humanity was the biggest religion which they try practicing on Eid.

(With Inputs from Jitendra Sharma)

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