By: Rajini KG
June 19 2023
The video is from Myanmar and has been on the internet since December 2022.
(Trigger warning: Description of violence)
Manipur has been witnessing clashes between the Meitei and Kuki communities since May 2023, which killed around 100 people. In the backdrop of Manipur violence, many misleading videos and images are circulating online.
A Twitter user shared one such video in June 2023 and wrote in Hindi, "This video is from the democratic country of India. Shocking video of brutal attack and murder of Kuki Christian girl in Manipur, Government has given free hand to majority society to eliminate Christians!" The video shows a woman being assaulted by three to four people, some of them wearing army camouflage uniforms.
Many people circulated the video on Twitter and Facebook with a similar claim. An image from this viral video was also published by Amor Assam, a daily newspaper from Assam, on June 19 with a title in Assamese, "Manipur burning! Teenager shot dead in the street."
However, the claim is false.
Through a Google reverse image search, we found that the video dates back to 2022. We found the same video on YouTube, uploaded by RFA Independent Voice of Asia, a US-based non-profit radio service from December 8, 2022. At 0:28 seconds, we can see the same viral video. The description of the video reads in Burmese, "Just days after the military council sentenced 12 young people, including seven Dagon University students, to death, a video of a woman in Tamu city being killed by young people in the middle of the street has spread on social networking sites."
We then searched for news reports on this and came across a report written in NP News, a news website from Myanmar on December 3, 2022. NP News published a few images from the viral video and reported a 24-year-old woman was handcuffed, interrogated, and tortured by a group brandishing guns on a street. She was a teacher in Tamu city, Myanmar.
Myanmar Now, a news website from Myanmar, also reported this on December 6, 2022. According to Myanmar Now, the Ministry of Defence - National Unity Government (NUG) conducted a probe into the incident and an official said, "The incident happened in the town of Tamu in June and that at least some of the alleged perpetrators belonged to the 4th Battalion of the Tamu District chapter of the anti-junta People's Defence Force (PDF)." It was reported that the woman was executed for allegedly being an informant for the Military Junta of Mayanmar.
The People's Defence Force (PDF) is an armored force created by NUG on May 2021, the National Unity Government website reports. But Myanmar Military (Military Junta) designated PDF as a terrorist organization. Burma News International (BNI) News website reports the same. None of the reports mention the victim’s religion.
The National Unity Government of Myanmar had posted an update on the viral video on Facebook on December 5, 2022. It states that NUG is carrying out the investigation as the incident is unacceptable and against military ethics.
It is to be noted that the newspaper in Assam, Amor Assam, also issued an apology for publishing an image from a video captured in Myanmar. The newspaper's Editor-in-Chief Manoj Goswami wrote on his Facebook page on June 19, 2023, "We apologize for the incorrect publication of a photo in the news about Manipur in "Amar Assam" today. We will also publicly apologize for this in the Newspaper (translated)."
On July 24, 2023, the official account of the Manipur police said in a tweet that an FIR has been registered against the spread of this viral video from Myanmar with the false narrative that it is from Manipur.
The Manipur police tweeted, "Cyber Crime Police Station (CCPS), Manipur registered a case in connection with the viral video of a woman being assaulted and killed by a mob including armed men (which happened in Myanmar), which has been falsely depicted as a case of Manipur. Attempt is made to identify and arrest the accused persons for spreading false news with intent to disturb public tranquillity, incite riot, and create serious breach of law and order in the State (sic)."
The viral video of a woman being beaten to death is from Myanmar and not from Manipur. The viral video has been circulating online since December 2022. Therefore, we have marked this claim as false.
(Update: This article was first published on June 19, 2023, and has been updated to reflect that an FIR has been filed by the Manipur police.)