Ethnic violence erupted in the north-eastern state of Manipur between the Meitei people who live in the Imphal Valley and the Kuki tribal community from the surrounding hills, the violence started on 3 May 2023, and since then misinformation flooded various social media platforms, such as several videos, images from Myanmar and different locations circulated claimed to be from Manipur violence. In this sequence of misinformation events, a gun-shaped pocket lighter image has been shared as a real pistol. In this piece of information, we are going to debunk another Manipur-related misinformation.
This image circulated as a real pistol in a man’s hand
Misinformation propaganda accounts have been circulating a screenshot of a Facebook post by a Manipur-based journalist named Paojel Chaoba. The journalist who posted the image (which seems like a pistol) wrote a two-line statement using the local language. Subsequently, propaganda accounts took screenshots of the Facebook post and circulated the screenshot with false claims on various social media platforms. Sharing the screenshot a Twitter user claimed that Paojel Chaoba the Meitei journalist showing off the pistol which he got from the IRB stationed at Naranseina, Bishnupur district. The misleading post can be found here (Archived).
Research, Analysis and Fact
To verify the screenshot, we visited Paojel Chaoba’s Facebook account and found the The same post was on his Facebook timeline hence it was verified that the screenshot is real. Then we did a reverse image search to verify the claims made by the user regarding a real pistol in a man’s hand. During the reverse image search, we found multiple results showing the same image on online selling websites. According to the online selling website Flipkart (Archived) this is a mini gun-shaped pocket lighter. Hence the claims made by the Users were found to be false. The image has nothing to do with real pistols as it was just a pocket lighter available on several online selling websites. Two days after the main post, Paojel Chaoba posted another video on his same Facebook account in which he is lighting a cigarette with the same gun-shaped pocket lighter.
Misinformation propaganda accounts circulate pocket lighter images as real guns to create panic among people in the violence-hit region in the Indian state of Manipur.
Claim- A Meitei Journalist Paojel Chaoba showing off the pistol he got from IRB stationed at Naranseina in the Bishnupur district.
Fact- This is not a real pistol but a mini gun-shaped pocket lighter.