Police in the Indian state of West Bengal have stated that a man portrayed as a “starving citizen” in a video shared by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) official Twitter handle is a local actor.
The police issued a “fake alert” on the video posted by BJP, saying that the culprits will be arrested.
On 17 April, BJP’s twitter account for West Bengal shared a video which showed an elderly man crying and appealing State Chief Mamata Banerjee to “kill them if the state can’t feed them”.
A lot of video clips of needy people are being posted on social media during the COVID-19 lockdown, with a message to concerned leaders or authorities to arrange help for such individuals.
“I appeal to West Bengal Chief Minister we have not eaten anything for the past two days. Mother, we are your children, please look after us. Our MP is Nusrat Jahan I appeal to her, please look after us. CM please look after us, we can’t take this anymore if not then shoot us", the elderly man said in the video, while breaking down in front of people.
The tweet was shared with an equally emotional caption, tagging Nusrat Jahan, a member of Trinamool Congress, West Bengal's ruling party, saying: “A heart-wrenching video of a wailing aged man who has not gotten any food for the last 2 days. This is @nusratchirp's constituency where TMC is busy siphoning off ration while the poor suffer".
A heart wrenching video of a wailing aged man who has not gotten any food for the last 2 days. This is @nusratchirps 's constituency where TMC is busy siphoning off ration while the poor suffer. pic.twitter.com/sInamlmLSg— BJP Bengal (@BJP4Bengal) April 17, 2020
The police have said that the man, featured in the video, has identified himself as Mobarek Mondal, a theatre artist. Adding that he has a digital ration card from which he received goods on 2 April this year.
“I am a jatra actor. Some youngsters told me to show them how I would enact a starving man during the lockdown. When I did, they recorded and posted it on the internet", Mondal said in the exposé video shared by the police.
যাত্রাশিল্পী সত্যিটা বলছেন (২/২) pic.twitter.com/Piv3VWQJiy— West Bengal Police (@WBPolice) April 18, 2020
Translation: Applying and serving completely wrong information about the ration of Bengal with the Jatrashilpi of North 24 Parganas. He has a digital ration card and also collected rations on 2 April 2020. The culprits will be arrested.
উত্তর চব্বিশ পরগনার যাত্রাশিল্পীকে দিয়ে বাংলার রেশন সংক্রান্ত সম্পূর্ণ ভুল তথ্য প্রয়োগ ও পরিবেশন।— West Bengal Police (@WBPolice) April 18, 2020
তাঁর ডিজিটাল রেশন কার্ড আছে এবং গত ২ এপ্রিল, ২০২০-তে তিনি রেশন সংগ্রহও করেছেন।
দোষীদের গ্রেপ্তার করা হবে।
দায়বদ্ধ থাকুন।#FakePostAlert (১/২) pic.twitter.com/UvNqSmM5Iv
Police have arrested Mondal on several charges, including making a false statement in a public place following a complaint by a villager. Two more people have reportedly been arrested in connection with the case.