Video shows alleged pir performing exorcism, not forced conversion

Peshawar police arrested the alleged pir in 2020 and 2021.

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Claim: A video circulating on social media shows a minor Hindu girl who was kidnapped by a man in Pakistan being forcibly converted to Islam.

Fact: The video does not show a forced conversion but a man who identified as a pir [faith healer] giving electric shocks to exorcise jinn [djinn] from a young girl, according to a statement from Capital City Police Peshawar.

[Content warning: Videos in this story may be upsetting for some]

Fact or Fiction?

On 14 March 2022, Facebook user Rahul Vaidh shared a video claiming that it shows a minor Hindu girl being forcibly converted to Islam in Pakistan.

The caption of his post reads, “A small Hindu child in Pakistan, forcefully kidnapped & being given electric shock to convert. This is how they converted 20% of Bharat. Unless these crooks are given 440 volt electric shock & sent to hoors, they are not going to stop.”

The 40-second clip shows a minor girl crying and screaming as a man (posing as a faith healer) asks her how many jinns [djinn] have possessed her? She responds in pashto, “three” and the man then attempts to electrocute her using a taser-like device. The young girl also repeats some Arabic verses after the alleged pir.

Soch Fact Check investigated the claim through a Google Search with the keyword, “Pir electrocuting children to perform exorcism Pakistan” and found articles dating back to 2020 regarding a discredited pir’s arrest for electrocuting a young boy in an exorcism attempt.

Dunya News carried a report about the incident on 10 August 2020. Their report quotes a tweet by Peshawar Police’s official Twitter account stating that action has been taken against a “fake pir” who electrocutes children to perform exorcism. 

The tweet states that the police have arrested the “fake pir” from the small village of Achini Bala, a case has been registered against him and further investigation is underway. He has been identified as Muhammad ullah, son of Qudratullah.

Soch Fact Check ascertained that the man in the photos shared by Capital City Police Peshawar and in the viral video doing the rounds on social media is the same.

The discredited pir goes by the name of Haji Muhammad ullah on Facebook where he shares videos of him performing exorcisms on people with his more than 1.1 million followers. The most recent video was shared on 28 March 2022. Meanwhile, he has over 80K subscribers on his YouTube channel.

Soch Fact Check took screenshots from the viral video mentioned above and compared it with screenshots from other videos posted by the discredited pir. As can be seen in the graphic below, it appears that the room in the videos is the same based on the colour of the wall behind.

It is pertinent to note that Muhammad ullah was once again arrested in April 2021 , according to Independent Urdu. Their report states that he was given bail after his previous arrest in 2020 along with a strict instruction to not engage in any such activities in future. However, he continued his exorcism activities. 

Virality

According to a CrowdTangle analysis conducted by Soch Fact Check, the search term “a small Hindu child in Pakistan kidnapped given electric shock to convert” turned up five posts on Facebook which received 28 interactions over the 30-day period leading up to 28 March 2022.

The claim was picked up by multiple Facebook users and pages, including here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

It was also shared on a handful of groups; here, here, and here.

Soch Fact Check also used Facebook’s search feature to check the virality of the video with the search term “A small Hindu child in Pakistan, forcefully kidnapped & being given electric shock to convert” and found at least eight posts carrying the viral claim.

On Twitter, the claim was shared by Indian journalist Yatharth Sikka on 14 March 2022, who has a verified account. His video has 62,900 views. It was posted by others too, including here, here and here among others.

Conclusion: The viral video does not show a minor Hindu girl forcefully being converted to Islam but in fact shows a discredited faith healer, Pir Muhammad ullah, who  is known to use electrocution in attempts to perform exorcisms on people. He has been arrested on more than one occasion by the Peshawar police for such acts. 

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