A 35-second clip showing a group of individuals — a few men wearing skullcaps and a woman wearing a burqa — being carried away by the police is circulating on social media. The man recording the video confronts the group and repeatedly asks in Dakhni or Deccani how they had the audacity to kidnap a minor.
Sharing this clip on Twitter, pro-BJP propaganda outlet Sudarshan News wrote in Hindi, “They can be identified from their clothes in Bangalore? Kidnappers were caught red-handed at the Shivaji Nagar bus stop. Gathering of child kidnappers happening in the city, everyone should stay cautious…” The first part of the caption is a dog whistle against the Muslim community, which alludes to a comment made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2019 when anti-CAA-NRC protests were at their peak in 2019.
बेंगलुरु में ‘कपड़ों’ से पहचान सकते हैं?? शिवाजी नगर बस स्टॉप पर बच्चों के अपहर्ताओं को रंगे हाथ पकड़ा गया। शहर में बच्चों के “अपहरण” करने का जमावड़ा, सभी जागरूक रहें … pic.twitter.com/D0GIbvo2pa
— Sudarshan News (@SudarshanNewsTV) May 1, 2023
A Twitter user called Amitabh Chaudhary, who frequently shares misinformation on social media, shared the same clip and wrote that he would not be surprised if the accused turned out to be ‘illegal Bangladeshi or Rohingya’. He further said that Bangalore was sitting on a ‘time bomb’ for a long time due to Muslim ‘appeasement & settlement’.
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#Bengaluru : Burqa clad woman & 2 mslim men in skull cap have been arrested for Child kidnapping!
Won’t be a shocker if they turn out to be illegal Bangladeshi or Rohingya. Bangalore is sitting on time b@mb since long due to mslim appeasement & settlement.@zoo_bear fact check! pic.twitter.com/WZcqSHoA8u
— Amitabh Chaudhary (@MithilaWaala) May 1, 2023
Gayathri Bandari, who is the spokesperson of Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha for Telangana, shared the clip with the same claim.
We started with verifying the location. The tweet by Sudarshan News mentioned that the alleged kidnappers were caught in the Shivaji Nagar Bus Stand. Taking note of this, we looked up Shivaji Nagar Bus Stand on Google Maps and found that the location matched visually.
Next, we spoke with DCP East Bengaluru Dr Bheemashankar S Guled. He said the bearded man holding a water bottle in the video was the accused in the case. The DCP categorically denied the claim made by Sudarshan News.
“The accused was undergoing treatment at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), and that day after his regular check-up he had come to that area (Shivaji Nagar) with his parents. He did not snatch the baby, he touched the child while the child was in the company of her parents. It is false to say that he attempted to snatch the kid but it is also unclear why he touched the kid. What we can confirm is that he was of unsound mind. We can also confirm that they are of the same faith, unlike what is being projected on social media,” Bheemashankar said.
He added, “Once the police were made aware of the developments, they immediately attended to the matter. The police cross-checked the records at NIMHANS and once that was shown to the child’s parents, they did not file a complaint. I was also made aware of this case and I personally checked the records and verified the police’s version.”
Additionally, Alt News spoke with a senior police officer at Commercial Street Police Station who told us that the accused had come to Shivaji Nagar with his family in the early hours of April 15/16 and that he was mentally unstable. In the heat of the moment, the victim’s family recorded the video but after they cross-checked the medical records, they refused to file a complaint.
This content originally appeared on Alt News and was authored by Kalim Ahmed.