Video of woman assaulted in Pakistan shared with false claim about 'violence against Hindus'

·3 min read

A video has racked up hundreds of thousands of views after being circulated in Hindi-language social media posts that claim it shows a brutal assault against a Hindu woman in Muslim-majority Pakistan. This is false. The footage has circulated in news reports since January 2022 about a woman being assaulted over a land dispute in Pakistan. The victim's relative told AFP that the dispute was between two Muslim families.

Warning: distressing footage

The video was tweeted here by the verified account of Indian media outlet Zee Hindustan on August 27, 2022.

“Atrocities against Hindus are not stopping in Pakistan. A Hindu woman was beaten up with sticks over a minor issue. There’s no justice for Hindu victims,” reads the Hindi-language tweet.

The one-minute 20-second video, which shows a group of people physically assaulting a woman, was viewed more than 395,000 times before it was removed.

Screenshot of the misleading post, taken on August 31, 2022

Discrimination and violence against religious minorities are commonplace in Pakistan, where Muslims comprise 97 percent of the population and Hindus around two percent.

The Hindu minority and their places of worship are frequent targets of mob violence, AFP reported.

The clip has garnered more than 184,000 views after social media users from Hindu-majority India shared it in similar Hindi and English posts on Twitter here, here and here; on Facebook here, here and here; and on Instagram here.

However, the claim is false.

Land dispute

A combination of reverse image and keyword searches found part of the video included in this report published by Pakistani TV channel Geo News on January 9, 2022.

"Elderly woman in Sialkot publically tortured over 'land dispute'," reads the report's headline.

Sialkot is a district in Pakistan's Punjab province.

The elderly woman told Geo News that the attack was sparked by a longstanding "land dispute".

The culprits "banged my house door, forced their way in, and dragged me through the streets to the public square where they tortured me", she was quoted as saying.

Below is a screenshot comparison of the video in the misleading post (left) and the video in the Geo News report (right):

Screenshot comparison of the video in the misleading post (left) and the video in the Geo News report (right)

Screenshots from the video were also published in other Pakistani media reports about the same incident here and here.

According to Pakistan's English-language newspaper Dawn, the incident happened at Palura Kalan village in Sialkot, and the victim was identified as Munawar Kanwal.

Kanwal's nephew, Matloob Alam, told an AFP journalist in Pakistan that the land dispute was between two Muslim families.

"There is a land dispute between the two families, both are Muslims," Alam said. "Our family wants to build a passage on a piece of land, but the other family does not allow us."

In an interview with Indian fact-checking website BOOM Live, Munawar Kanwal said: "Those who attacked me were Muslims, I am also a devout Muslim."

AFP previously debunked a false claim that another video shows "people abducting a Hindu woman in Pakistan to force her to convert to Islam".