The picture of a cop in civilian clothes (right) was widely circulated on social media to be that of ABVP member Bharat Sharma

New Delhi: Riots and protests are a hotbed for fake news and misinformation. One such incident which has come to light is that of a man in civilian clothes with police gear on who was captured thrashing students during the protests against Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 near Jamia Millia Islamia university in New Delhi recently.

The man was initially pointed out by social media users to be an Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) member and that he was dressed as a policeman in civilian clothes during the protests on the university campus which had turned violent on Sunday evening.

In a photo doing the rounds on social media, he was identified as Bharat Sharma, an ABVP member. To establish who the person is, The Quint contacted DCP South East Delhi who identified him as constable, Arvind Kumar. He further denied that he is a part of any student organisation.

Kumar, while speaking with reporters, said that the man in the video is indeed him and that he works for the Anti Auto Theft Squad (AATS) South Delhi. He also added that he was called on the spot on Sunday.

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Since Kumar was called on a short notice, he had had to be in civilian clothes, said the report.

However, the unverified news that the man in the video is Bharat Sharma, an ABVP member, had already done the damage. Sharma was threatened and abused online, so much so that he had to deactivate his Facebook profile.

Sharma also took to Twitter and said he will file a defamation suit. “I have been subjected to severe mental harassment since yesterday. I will file a defamation suit against all those who have peddled this lie that I was involved in rioting disguising as a police personnel, thus defaming my organisation and me.”

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