Road Safety Awareness Video Shared With False Communal Spin

Himanshi Dahiya
·3-min read

A video purportedly showing Muslim men brandishing swords and guns after being confronted by locals for not wearing a helmet while driving is being shared on social media with a caption saying that the video should serve as a "reality check" for torchbearers of secularism in India.

However, we found that the said video is not of a real incident but was staged by one Raghvendra Kumar to spread awareness on road safety among the Muslim population of Kaimur district in Bihar.

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The viral video was shared on Facebook by Sadhvi Prachi, a member of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad with a claim which reads: "सेलकुरिजम का झुनझुना बजाने वाले ये वीडियो अवश्य देखें।बिना हेलमेट नमाजियों को रोका तो कैसे एक फोन पर पचासों शांतिदूत बन्दूक और तलवार लेकर आ गये।क्या पुलिस किसी हिन्दू को बिना हेलमेट पकड़ती है तो बिना चालान किये जाने देती ??"

[Translation: The torchbearers of secularism must watch this video. When Muslim devotees were confronted for not wearing a helmet while driving, several 'peacefuls' gathered with guns and swords. Does the police ever let go of Hindus flouting traffic norms without a challan?]

<div class="paragraphs"><p>An archived version of the post can be accessed <a href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:here" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">here</a>.</p></div>

An archived version of the post can be accessed here.

The video is massively viral on Twitter and Facebook with the same misleading claim. (Archived versions of the same can be accessed here, here, here and here.)

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We fragmented the viral video into multiple keyframes using the InVid Google Chrome extension and ran a reverse image search on one of the frames. This directed us to a YouTube video uploaded by one Helmet Man.

The video uploaded on 20 March, is an extended version of the viral video. A person in the video can be seen educating a bunch of Muslim youth about the importance of wearing a helmet while driving.

Taking a cue from here, we searched for this 'Helmet Man' on Facebook where we found his contact details.

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Speaking to The Quint, Raghvendra Kumar, the 'Helmet Man' said that after losing his brother in a road accident, he has been committed to the cause of road safety. As part of one of his initiatives, he visited the Kaimur district in Bihar where the Maulvi of a mosque and some local youth helped film a video to spread awareness on the importance of wearing a helmet.

"“It is sad that a video filmed for a good cause is being shared on social media to spread hate. The maulvi of the mosque where the video was shot and some local youth readily agreed to work on the video with me. There is no communal angle to the incident.”" - Raghvendra Kumar, Road Safety Activist

Clearly, a video aimed at spreading awareness around road safety in Bihar was shared with a misleading claim to give the situation a communal colour.

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