No, video doesn't show assault on NCP MLA Jitendra Awhad over comments on Lord Ram

By: Annet Preethi Furtado
January 16 2024

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No, video doesn't show assault on NCP MLA Jitendra Awhad over comments on Lord Ram

Screenshots of the claim that a video depicts NCP leader Jitendra Awhad being assaulted after his controversial comments on Lord Rama. (Source: X/Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)


The Verdict False

Two old videos from 2015 and 2023 have been edited together to falsely claim that Awhad was assaulted over alleged derogatory remarks about Lord Rama.

Claim ID 9ca20db2

The Ram Mandir inauguration is scheduled for January 22, 2024, in Ayodhya. In reverence of this event and to maintain the sanctity of the temple, BJP-governed states like Chhattisgarh and Assam have imposed bans on liquor sales. Concurrently, in Jaipur's Municipal Corporation Heritage area, meat shops will be closed during this period.

Amid these preparations, National Congress Party (NCP) leader and MLA Jitendra Awhad sparked controversy on January 3 by claiming that Lord Rama was non-vegetarian. His statement, "Ram is ours, of us Bahujans, who used to hunt for food... Ram was never a vegetarian," has caused an uproar. 

The Maharashtra Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and various right-wing groups condemned these remarks, demanding Awhad's arrest. The comments also met with disapproval within his party and the Maha Vikas Aghadi alliance. Legal actions were initiated against Awhad, who later expressed regret for offending religious sentiments but did not retract his statement.

What's the claim?

Following his remarks, a 17-second video circulating on X (formerly Twitter) allegedly shows a mob attacking Awhad for his comments on Lord Ram.

The video depicts chaos on a public stage, with individuals seen assaulting someone, as a Marathi voice-over describes, "Karyakartas tried to attack legislator Jitendra Awhad. Shiv Pratishthan and Jagar Parishad workers engaged in a brawl, hurling chairs and microphones. Shiv Pratishthan activists attacked Awhad’s car.” The video concludes with Awhad descending the stage stairs, shirt soaked, accompanied by music.

The video has been shared with captions such as: "Sharad Pawars Party MLA Jitendra Awhad beaten for his derogatory comments on Prabhu Ram. Karyakartas of Shiv pratishthan Sangli gave royal treatment for hurting sentiments of hindus (sic)'' One such post on X amassed approximately 460,000 views. Archived versions can be found here, here, and here.

Screenshots of the viral claim. (Source: X/Screenshots/Modified by Logically Facts)

However, the video is a compilation of two unrelated clips – one from 2015 and another from November 2023, having no connection to Awhad’s recent remarks.

What we found

A reverse image search of the initial 13 seconds of the viral clip showing a fight led us to a similar video uploaded by India Today on July 21, 2015. This footage related to an incident where Awhad narrowly escaped an attack by 'Shiv Pratishthan' members during an event by the Sambhaji Brigade in Sangli, Maharashtra. Awhad's speech, critical of the Maharashtra government's decision to honor writer Baba Saheb Purandare and comments about Shiv Pratishthan's founder Sambhaji Bhide, incited the altercation. Awhad was safely escorted by police, though his car was later vandalized in Shiv Pradesh town, according to the report.

The India Today report on the July 21, 2015, incident involving Awhad. (Source: YouTube)

India TV and The Times of India also covered this event, confirming the details and reporting the detention of five individuals and the filing of a case against Awhad.

The second clip, showing Awhad in a wet shirt descending a stage, is from a YouTube Short posted on his channel on November 27, 2023. While the specifics of the event in the video are unconfirmed, its existence since at least November 2023 indicates it is unrelated to his recent statements about Lord Ram. 

A YouTube Short that was posted on Awhad's channel on November 27, 2023. (Source: YouTube)

To date, there are no reports of Awhad being physically assaulted in response to his recent comments.

The verdict

The claim that Awhad was assaulted for his remarks about Lord Rama is false. Two unrelated videos, one from 2015 and another from 2023, were misleadingly edited together. The initial clip, showing a scuffle during Awhad's speech, is over eight years old and bears no relevance to his recent comments on Lord Rama. The second video is also unrelated. This claim is marked as false, as the videos are outdated and falsely linked to Awhad’s recent statements.

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