The fake news factory has started working overtime to exploit the ongoing migrant crisis during the COVID-19 pandemic. In one such case, a video of an overcrowded train is being shared with a claim that it is carrying migrant workers from Mumbai to West Bengal.
However, the claim is far from truth as the video is not just old, but also from Bangladesh. It shows a special train carrying devotees during the Bishwa Ijtema – the biggest annual gatherings of Muslims in Bangladesh in Tongi, Gazipur, Bangladesh, by the banks of River Turag. We could trace this video back to 2018.
The video shows an overcrowded train in which people can be seen sitting on the roof and hanging on doors and windows. The claim shared along with the video reads, “Mumbai to West Bengal Migrant Train – 10/5/2020.”
We also received multiple queries regarding the video on our WhatsApp helpline number.
WHAT WE FOUND
We divided the video into several keyframes using the InVid Google Chrome extension and followed it up with a reverse image search. This directed us to reports and videos which hinted that the viral video is from Khilkhet in Bangladesh.
A Google search using keywords “Overcrowded trains in Bangladesh” helped us reach the same video, uploaded by a YouTube channel in 2018.
According to the description provided on YouTube, the video shows a Bishwa Ijtema Munajat Special Train, which was arranged to carry devotees who had come to attend the Bishwa Ijtema 2018, one of the biggest annual gatherings of Muslims in Bangladesh in Tongi, Gazipur, Bangladesh, by the banks of River Turag.
An article by Daily Sun corroborated the fact that special trains were indeed arranged for devotees attending the congregation.
To determine the exact location where the video was shot, we searched for Khilkhet on Google Maps and were able to match frames from the video.
We also spoke to a local in Bangladesh, who told us that this happens every year during Ijtema.
While this particular video is old, it should be noted that the daily wage labourers have been the worst affected due to lockdown, resulting in large scale reverse migration.
After consistent demands, the central government ran the first “Shramik Special” train on 1 March. Several such trains have been deployed thereafter to help the migrants. Despite this, many still continue to walk hundreds of kilometres on foot to reach home.
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