By: Anurag Baruah
January 3 2023
While the video is indeed from Bihar, the incident in question dates back to 2020 when the NDA, and not the Mahagathbandhan, was in power.
At least 70 people died in December 2022 after drinking spurious liquor in the 'dry' state of Bihar, where the sale and consumption of alcohol are prohibited. According to a Hindustan Times report, this is the highest number of deaths in the state since prohibition was brought into effect in 2016. The tragedy led to a war of words between the Mahagathbandhan-led Bihar government and the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
On December 28, 2022, the BJP's Bihar unit shared a video showing a group of men beating up a police officer from its verified Twitter account. The video also carried text in Hindi criticizing Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and alleging that criminals enjoy such impunity under the Mahagathbandhan (grand alliance) government that they even beat up police officers. The post was shared with the claim that the footage showed liquor mafia goons thrashing a police officer and further questioned the law and order situation in Bihar under Mahagathbandhan's rule. While the BJP Bihar Twitter handle has now deleted the post, we found that the video has been shared on Twitter by several other users with similar claims and continues to go viral.
After conducting a reverse image search using one of the keyframes of the viral video, we found that the same video was published as part of a report by The Times of India on September 6, 2022. The video report was shared with the headline: "On cam: Cop attacked by liquor mafia in Patna." According to the report, the alleged associates of a liquor mafia assaulted a police officer in the aftermath of a police raid carried out in Bihar's capital to nab those involved in the illegal sale and distribution of liquor.
Taking a cue from this, we performed a keyword search and found the viral video was also a part of a news segment that aired on the TV channel Mirror Now and was shared on its YouTube channel on September 6, 2020. According to the news report, the police officer was attacked and seriously injured by a group of liquor smugglers when he was conducting a raid in the Jakkanpur area of Patna. The report further mentioned that the police arrested two accused, and a search was on for the rest.
As is evident, the incident recorded in the video took place in 2020 when the Bihar government was being run by the National Democratic Alliance (NDA)—which referred to the collation between the BJP and Janata Dal (United) or JD(U)—not the Mahagathbandhan. The Mahagathbandan came into power in August 2022, when JD(U) leader and CM Nitish Kumar left NDA and joined forces with the Rashtriya Janata Dal, Congress, and Left parties.
A video from September 2020 is being falsely shared with the claim that it shows a recent incident of a police officer being beaten up by liquor smugglers under the rule of the Mahagathbandhan-led Bihar government. In 2020, CM Nitish Kumar and his party were in an alliance with the BJP and not a part of the Mahagathbandhan (grand alliance), which only came back to power in August 2022. Therefore, we mark the claim as misleading.