‘Rumours’, videos take social media by stormUpdated: Dec 15, 2019 23:57 IST
New Delhi From social media posts that a student was killed and many others injured in police firing, to a video of a policeman aiming a gun, and conspiracy theories about buses being set ablaze by the policemen, social media on Sunday was abuzz with information and claims that the Delhi Police dismissed as “rumours”.
In the evening, the Delhi Police appealed to people “not to believe the rumours” and that they were monitoring social media.“We are keeping a watch on everything,” said MS Randhawa, spokesperson, Delhi Police.
The police said that the rumours escalated tensions in some areas and urged people not to believe in fake social media posts.
While some social media posts claimed that a student had lost his life during the protests, the police denied any such incident. Officers Hindustan Times spoke to said the rumour originated from a video that was not shot during Sunday’s violence.
Chinmoy Biswal, the deputy commissioner of police (south-east), denied that any gunshots were fired by the police.
The DCP denied it was a bullet fired by the police. “That is impossible because none of us carried a gun while dealing with the protesters,” said the DCP.
There were also allegations that a Jamia student, belonging to Kota in Rajasthan, was shot dead in alleged police firing.
However, the police, as well as students, denied any such death.
More rumours of students receiving gunshot wounds emerged throughout the day, with one video purportedly showing a policeman opening fire on a mob using a rifle. The video showed the policeman firing multiple shots towards a mob in a poorly lit environment.
The police refuted the allegations and insisted that the video was not from the Jamia protests. “The area seen in the video doesn’t resemble any area near Jamia University or the surrounding neighbourhood. Unlike what is seen in the video clip, there is no such wide road in and around Jamia. Unlike Jamia, no Metro pillars or grille fences along the campus borders are seen,” said the DCP.
The image that did the most rounds and prompted conspiracy theories were of a few policemen approaching buses with cans in their hands. A man in plainclothes was purportedly seen pouring something through the window of a bus and two policemen appear to be standing casually in the vicinity, prompting suspicion that it was the police setting the bus on fire.
However, a senior police officer said that this was a wrong interpretation of the images. Shahzad Khan, a local trader who was produced by the police, said, “Upon seeing the fire, some policemen asked local shopkeepers for cans of water. We poured the water through the window to douse the flames that had engulfed a seat.”