A video of a huge crowd of people on a road and another group looking on from a terrace is going viral with the claim that it shows migrant labourers stuck at the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border as they try to return home amid the coronavirus lockdown.
However, we found that it is actually a video from October 2019 that was taken at the time of a recruitment drive for the Territorial Army held in UP’s Faizabad and is being falsely shared with this claim.
The nearly two-minute-long video shows a huge crowd of men standing together on a road, many of them carrying bags on their shoulders. Some policemen can be seen in the midst of the crowd wielding sticks and seemingly trying to get them in some order.
On Facebook, the video was shared with multiple similar claims. One of them was shared with a message which said, “Social distancing at UP Border”. Uploaded by a user called Jatinder Cheema, the video had 10k views and over 900 shares at the time this story was published.
Many others shared the video with the claim that it showed migrants trying to return home stopped at Delhi-UP Border in Ghazipur. “Even animals are treated better,” the claim continued.
On Twitter too, the video was viral with similar claims.
The above video had over 62k views and 1.3k likes.
WHAT WE FOUND
On watching the video, we noticed that nobody in the video, not even the policemen, was wearing a mask, which is unlikely to happen amid the coronavirus pandemic. Even in videos that have surfaced of crowds thronging despite the pandemic, most people have been seen wearing masks.
Further, we noticed that the crowd comprised only men, which would again be unlikely in a scenario of migrant workers gathering at a border to return home.
This brought us to the conclusion that this was an old video.
We then broke up the video into keyframes using the software Invid and ran a reverse search on it, through the search engine Yandex. This took us to a YouTube video from October 2019, which claimed that the scene showed a recruitment drive held by the Territorial Army in Faizabad on 15 October 2019. The video was the same as the viral one, but taken from a slightly different angle.
The video had been uploaded on 15 October 2019 itself.
Taking a cue from this, we ran a search on YouTube with keywords like ‘TA Faizabad October 2019’ which took us to more videos of the same scene.
(Warning: Below video contains explicit language.)
The same blue signboard that can be seen in the viral video is also present in this video, as are the vehicles seen parked in the midst of the crowd.
We also found several other videos of the same scene.
Further, we came across news reports which corroborated the fact that a TA recruitment drive had been held in Faizabad’s Dogra Regimental Centre between 14-19 October. These reports said that there had been huge crowds as a result of the recruitment drive. One report even said that the crowds created a situation which required the police to step in and use mild force, which could be an explanation for the policemen using lathis in the viral video.
Therefore, it is clear that an old, unrelated video is being used to spread the false claim that it shows migrants stuck at the UP-Delhi border.
However, it is true that there are in fact migrant workers stranded at the Delhi-UP border in Ghazipur as they await an opportunity to be allowed to return home. According to a Hindustan Times report, some of these people are migrant who have reached Delhi by train from other states and are trying to return to Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Bihar.
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