2018 video shared to show a woman being attacked in West Bengal's Sandeshkhali recently

By: Annet Preethi Furtado
February 21 2024

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2018 video shared to show a woman being attacked in West Bengal's Sandeshkhali recently

Screenshots of the claim that a video shows a woman being attacked during a live interview in Sandeshkhal. (Source: X/Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)


The Verdict False

The clip shows a BJP worker being assaulted by an alleged TMC leader in September 2018. It is unrelated to the current situation in Sandeshkhali.

Claim ID 08255f45

What's the claim?

The village of Sandeshkhali in the eastern Indian state of West Bengal has become a flashpoint since early January. Against the backdrop of this ongoing unrest, a video depicting a man assaulting a woman during a television interview is circulating widely on social media platforms. 

The viral six-second video shows a woman being attacked while giving an interview to a news channel. Just before the clip ends, the woman falls to the ground, having been pushed by a man wearing a blue shirt and holding a stick.

On X (formerly Twitter), the video was shared communal captions, claiming that this showed a scene in Sandeshkhali, where Hindu women are not allowed to speak out about alleged sexual assaults by Muslims. Archived links of such posts can be found here and here. One such post had received about over 61,000 views.

Screenshots of viral X posts. (Source: X/ Screenshot/ Modified by Logically Facts)

The video was also shared on Facebook with similar claims (here and here).

Screenshots of Facebook posts sharing the viral clip. (Source: Facebook/ Modified by Logically Facts)

The Sandeshkhali area in Bengal's North 24 Parganas has been tense ever since an Enforcement Directorate (ED) team raided the residence of Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader Shahjahan Sheikh on January 5, as a part of an investigation into an alleged multi-crore ration distribution scam. Since February 8, the village has been engulfed by demonstrations condemning alleged acts of violence and sexual harassment allegedly committed by Sheikh, who has been on the run after the raids, and his associates.

Amid such developments, the Sundarbans village has become a political flashpoint between the TMC and its rival Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). 

However, the viral video dates back to 2018 and depicts an assault on a woman during a political strike organized. 

What did we find?

Upon conducting a reverse image search on the keyframes of the viral video, we found a post on X from September 30, 2018, featuring the same video on the X platform by one Keya Ghosh— who, according to her bio, works with the media wing of BJP's West Bengal unit. The post caption alleged that the woman in the video, identified as Nilima Dey Sarkar, was attacked by a TMC leader named Arshadujjaman. It further accused Arshadujjaman's alleged accomplice, Qutubuddin, of openly thrashing Dey Sarkar while she was recounting the incident to the media.

(Source: X)

In October 2018, NDTV published a report titled "Caught On Camera: Trinamool Leaders Attack Woman BJP Supporter Twice," providing a detailed account of the incident captured in the viral video. This report said that the incident had occurred on September 26, 2018, when alleged local TMC leaders targeted Dey Sarkar, a BJP worker, on two separate occasions in Barasat. NDTV further noted that the man in the blue shirt had been identified by the BJP as Qutubuddin, an aide of Arshaduzzaman, the man who had attacked Dey Sarkar first. The report also carried the TV news segment, which showed visuals of both incidents of assault on the woman. These visuals included scenes from the viral video. 

During the first attack, also captured on video, Dey Sarkar attempted to evade the blows from the perpetrators. Despite her efforts, she was kicked and thrown onto the road near a level crossing, prompting police intervention.

In the second instance, as a reporter approached Dey Sarkar for an interview, she was subjected to another attack. The camera captured the moment when an alleged Trinamool leader charged at her, knocking her off her feet and sending her falling onto the road once more. The scene depicted in the viral video corresponds to a segment of the NDTV news video (from the 0:28 timestamp to the 0:34 mark).

Screenshot from a 2018 NDTV news report featuring visuals from the now-viral clip. (Source: NDTV)

What happened in September 2018?

On September 26, 2018, the BJP had called for a Bengal Bandh ( statewide strike in Bengal) to protest the deaths of two students, Rajesh Sarkar, and Tapas Barman, during a clash over the appointment of Urdu teachers in Islampur, North Dinajpur district. As part of the strike, Dey Sarkar and other BJP supporters participated in a rail blockade in Barasat, some distance from Kolkata. Reportedly, Trinamool party workers and supporters, who were out on the streets to protest against the strike, led by the local panchayat chief, Arshaduzzaman, charged at them.

According to The Indian Express, Dey Sarkar, who had joined the BJP just a week prior to the incident, proceeded to a local court in Barasat five days after the attack to file a formal complaint. Speaking to the paper, her husband complained that she had been hit with sticks, which caused her to sustain severe injuries. 

Hindustan Times also reported that Dey Sarkar was beaten when she attempted to intervene to save another man from being physically assaulted.

While all the reports corroborate that Dey Sarkar was beaten by a TMC party worker, none mention any angle of sexual assault. Further, the incident clearly occurred in 2018 and not in Sandeshkhali, as claimed on social media.

The verdict

An old video from September 2018 of an attack on a BJP worker in Barasat, near Kolkata, is being falsely circulated to depict a recent incident from Sandeshkhali. Therefore, we have marked the claim as false.

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