A few days ago, a video surfaced on various social media platforms depicting an angry mob assaulting a teenage boy at Mumbai’s Bandra Terminus, while his female friend pleaded for mercy after both the minor boy and girl eloped together. The incident sparked divergent narratives from both left-wing (LW) and right-wing (RW) propagandist accounts, each weaving their own religious spin onto the story. LW accounts alleged that the Muslim boy was beaten due to his association with a Hindu girl, while RW accounts claimed that the Muslim boy kidnapped the minor Hindu girl and coerced her into wearing a burqa, intending to take her to Uttar Pradesh.
Prominent propagandist accounts quickly stepped in to mould the story according to their narratives, thus suppressing the truth. On the Left Wing side, notable figures such as Rajdeep Sardesai (@sardesairajdeep), Mohammad Zubair (@zoo_bear), Meer Faisal (@meerfaisal01), Waris Pathan (@warispathan), and Kashif Arsalaan (@KashifArsalaan), Shama Parveen (@ShamaParveen) propagated misleading information. Accounts like @HateDetectors and @AsianDigest, paradoxically spreading hate and fake news, further fueled the misinformation. Similarly, @HindutvaWatchIn, a purported watchdog, was found sharing misleading news. Moreover, a Pakistani account @SAHR_Watch shared misleading news.
On the Right Wing side, individuals like @MrSinha_, Dhrishta Dhyumn (@LadkaKamaalKa), The Right Wing Guy (@rightwing_guy), @_treeni, and Ritu Rathaur (@RituRathaur) contributed to the distortion of the true story.
The Actual Story Unveiled:
Contrary to these narratives, reports revealed that both the boy and girl were minors and school friends. The girl willingly eloped with the boy, prompting her family to file a kidnapping complaint. The duo was apprehended at Bandra Terminus, where the boy faced physical assault. The reason behind the beating was his attempt to relocate with the minor girl. Importantly, the girl wasn’t kidnapped nor coerced into wearing religious attire; she eloped with a fellow school friend who was also a minor. The police initiated actions against the offenders.
According to Mid-Day (www.mid-day.com) [archive], the Bandra Government Railway Police (GRP) began the process of filing an FIR against a group of 10-15 individuals who assaulted a 16-year-old boy. The boy and a 16-year-old girl, both from Ambernath and schoolmates, were romantically involved. The couple was caught by the gang while on a train at Bandra Railway Terminus. The girl wore a burkha to conceal her identity. The gang dragged the boy off the train and attacked him, recording the incident and sharing it on social media.
The girl had gone to school and attended tuition, but on that day, she didn’t return. Her family filed a kidnapping FIR on July 21, suspecting foul play. Simultaneously, a group learned of the couple’s plan to flee and intercepted them at Bandra Terminus. They dragged the boy off the train while allegedly chanting religious slogans, recording the incident. The video went viral, prompting verification by Bandra Railway Police, confirming the identities of the minors and contacting their parents.
Deputy Commissioner of Police Sandeep Bhajibhakare of the Railway Police stated that they were registering an FIR against the unknown individuals responsible for the assault. Senior Inspector Jagannath Kalaskar of the Ambernath police station reported that they found and reunited the girl with her parents and the boy with his. They registered an FIR against an unidentified individual for kidnapping.
Conclusion: Verifying the Reality Amidst Misinformation
Amidst the misinformation from both LW and RW circles, the actual events at Mumbai’s Bandra Terminus were far from the narratives propagated online. Two young minors, in a mutual relationship, attempted to elope, triggering an attack on the boy as he aimed to relocate with the girl. Both Left Wing and Right Wing influencers use misinformation as a tool to fuel communal disharmony, reinforcing their narratives and garnering support from their respective followers. Following comprehensive analysis and meticulous fact-checking, our team has investigated the claim. You can refer to the findings of this inquiry in the Twitter thread embedded below.
Claim: The teenage boy was beaten due to religious differences and the girl was kidnapped.
Fact: Misleading, the boy and girl were minors who eloped as school friends; the girl wasn’t kidnapped, and the boy was beaten for attempting to elope with her. Misinformation from LW and RW accounts fueled the propagation of false narratives.
In our pursuit of accurate and unbiased information, we’ve diligently fact-checked the claims surrounding the incident. Misinformation can sow discord and disrupt communal harmony. Your support matters greatly in our mission to foster an informed and united society. Together, let’s strive to make India and Indians proud, upholding truth and unity. Jai Hind.