DEBUNKED

No, this video does not show people in India resisting Covid-19 tests and vaccines

"In India, villagers chase away screening and vaccination teams," the tweet said.
"In India, villagers chase away screening and vaccination teams," the tweet said. © Observers

A video posted as part of a Twitter thread on April 29, and still circulating online, claims to prove that people in India are resisting measures to control the propagation of Covid-19. While the video's caption says that the people in the video were chasing away testing and vaccine personnel, the footage actually shows them chasing away police officers who were trying to put an end to a festive gathering amid the resurgence of the pandemic in India.

Advertising

"They see through the V-fraud!" wrote Twitter user @robinmonotti2 on April 29 in a thread of Tweets that claimed to reveal Indian citizens' opposition to health measures. According to the posts, Indians are supposedly rejecting testing and vaccination campaigns, which have intensified in India since the resurgence of the virus in April.

The first tweet in the thread (which has since been deleted) includes a video that shows several police officers being chased by a group of men. Several of these men throw stones in the direction of the police, who eventually retreat and climb into their vehicles, before fleeing down a dirt road.

A group of men threw stones and chased away police officers in this video posted April 29 on Twitter.
A group of men threw stones and chased away police officers in this video posted April 29 on Twitter. © Observers

As of May 7, the video had some 348,000 views. The Tweet was accompanied by this caption: "Villagers chase out the testing & vaccination squads."

Similar posts have circulated on the encrypted messaging service Telegram, as well as on Facebook.
Similar posts have circulated on the encrypted messaging service Telegram, as well as on Facebook. © Observers

Why it's false 

In reality, these images have been taken out of context. However, using a reverse image search via the InVID tool (learn how here), we can find out what really happened. The scene took place on April 23 near the small town of Saraikela, in the state of Jharkhand, which is in eastern India. On that day, a "mela," the Indian term for a fair or festival, was being held. The incident was covered by several national media outlets, such as the television channel NDTV and the magazine India Today

"The police said they tried to persuade the villagers to end the mela and go home. However, the negotiation broke down and the villagers in a bid to force out the policemen attacked them," NDTV wrote. According to India Today, out of the "hundreds" of residents gathered for the event, eight people were arrested following the clashes with police.

To find out more, India Today's fact-checking unit spoke to their correspondent on the scene and the local police, all of whom disputed the claims made using this video. "No such mob attack was reported during Covid testing or vaccination drive in Saraikela," the police said. 

Indeed, these images do show an attempt by Indian police officers to close down a gathering in order to limit contact between people and manage the spread of Covid-19. However, the video has nothing to do with testing or the Covid-19 vaccine. It does not prove, therefore, that villagers in the state of Jharkhand are resisting authorities to thwart these two health campaigns.