No, this video does not show police baton-charging protesters in Chhattisgarh

By: Mohammad Salman
January 17 2024

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No, this video does not show police baton-charging protesters in Chhattisgarh

Screenshot showing the viral post circulating on social media. (Source: X/Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)


The Verdict False

The viral clip has no connection to the ongoing protest in the Hasdeo forest of Chhattisgarh. The original video is from Karnataka.

Claim ID f3990221

What is the claim?

A video showing police personnel trying to clear a crowd gathered in a forest area is going viral on social media with the claim that the incident took place in the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh, where members of the tribal community have been protesting against the felling of trees in the Hasdeo forest. The clip, which also captures a woman falling onto the ground after being pushed by a policewoman, is being shared on X (formerly Twitter) with the claim that it depicts the ongoing protest in Hasdeo forest where trees were cut inside a coal block soon after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government came to power in the state. Several posts sharing the clip have also implied that the trees were chopped to facilitate mining companies of the Adani Group.

Posts sharing the video, some of which have garnered thousands of views, can be viewed here, here, and here.

Screenshots showing the viral posts circulating on social media. (Source: X/Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)

However, this video is not from Chhattisgarh but from the Hassan district of Karnataka, where local people were protesting the suspicious death of an elephant.

What are the facts?

On observing the video, we could hear people speaking Kannada, the official language of the southern Indian state of Karnataka. The emblem seen on the shoulder of the police personnel is also of Karnataka Police, indicating the video is of an incident from Karnataka.

Comparison between the logo seen in the viral video and the logo of Karnataka Police.
(Source: X/ Karnataka Police/Screenshot)

A Google search led us to a video report uploaded by Karnataka’s local media outlet, Public TV, on YouTube. Uploaded on December 5, 2023, the news report visuals similar to the viral clip. 

YouTube video uploaded by Public TV. (Source: YouTube/Screenshot)

The woman who falls on the ground after being pushed by a policewoman can also be spotted in the Public TV clip.

A comparison of the viral clip and the visuals captured in the Public TV news report. (Source: X/YouTube/Screenshots)

According to the report, local people in Yesloor, Sakleshpur of Hassan district held a protest demanding that the body of elephant Arjuna be taken to Balle Sakane Shibira in Mysore instead of cremating the animal in Sakleshpur. It added that several organizations demanded that the last rites of the animal should be performed with full respect at the appropriate place.  There was anger among the people regarding the death of the elephant and later the police resorted to using batons to control the crowd.

The incident was also reported by News18 Kannada which included similar visuals as seen in the viral clip. 

A report by The New Indian Express report on the incident mentioned that people were angry over the death of the famous Dussehra elephant Arjuna (aged 64). Arjuna was reportedly tussling with a white tusker during a rescue operation. Experts had raised questions about the method adopted for the operation and Arjuna's mahout (caretaker of the elephant), Vinu,  also accused the forest officials and veterinarians of allegedly shooting Arjuna instead of the rogue elephant. Vinsu claimed that Arjuna died due to an injury on his right leg, which had suffered a bullet injury while he was fighting with a wild elephant. 

However, while speaking to The Hindu, veterinarian H Ramesh said that Arjuna succumbed to injuries sustained in a fight with a wild elephant. He clarified that the animal was not hit by any bullet.

The verdict

The above evidence clarifies that the video of people protesting over the death of an elephant in Karnataka has been falsely linked to the ongoing protest to save the Hasdeo forest in Chhattisgarh. Therefore, we have marked the claim as false.

(Translated by: Ankita Kulkarni)

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