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Fact Check: Mayor Balen Shah’s Supporters Flood A Street Against Court Order Lifting Ban On Hindi Movies? No, Viral Post Is Misleading

Sanjeeb Phuyal is the Nepali Editor of Newschecker based in Kathmandu, Nepal. He brings over a decade of experience writing and editing news. In his previous stint, he worked as online editor for The Kathmandu Post. With the growth of social media platforms—and the ever-growing competition amongst media outlets to churn out breaking news, he feels that fact-checking every piece of information has become more essential today than ever before.

Claim
Supporters of Kathmandu Metro City’s mayor Balendra Shah flood a street to protest Patan High Court order allowing screening of Hindi movies
Fact
The viral footage actually shows annual Rath Yatra of Hindu God Jagannath in Puri

A video purportedly showing an enormous crowd of people gathering on a street in Kathmandu against the Patan High Court’s interim order to allow the showing of Hindi films in the metro city is going viral on TikTok. The video claims that the people allegedly seen on the streets of Kathmandu are the supporters of Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) Mayor Balendra Shah. Newschecker found the claim to be misleading.  

Earlier on 22 June, Patan High Court had issued an interim order allowing the screening of Hindi films in the cinemas of the metro city.  The Nepal Motion Picture Association, an umbrella body of cinema hall operators, had moved court against the decision to ban Hindi movies in Kathmandu. KMC Mayor had announced to ban Indian films until a Hindi movie ‘Adipurush’ rectified an alleged error in a dialogue regarding the birthplace of Janaki. The rapper-turned-mayor, who is still being looked up to by his supporters as a maverick, immediately threatened to defy the court order.

Against this backdrop, TikTok user @blackraja32 posted a 17-second aerial footage of a street completely packed with people. Text superimposed on the video reads, “A scene from Kathmandu after the people came out to protest against the Patan High Court’s interim order allowing the screening of Hindi movies. Supporters of Balen Shah in Kathmandu.” A voice-over accompanying the video says, “I am not the type of person who bows his head just because a few sycophants say it is bad because my parents have not taught me to run away from hardship and enemy. The archived version of the TikTok video can be seen here

The video posted on 26 June has garnered 51.6k likes, 532 users have shared it and 974 people have commented on it.

Fact Check /Verification

To check the authenticity of the claim made in the viral video, Newscheker split the video into several keyframes and conducted reverse searches on them. The results threw up several images and videos pointing us to the annual congregation of Hindu devotees as part of a religious procession of Lord Jagannath in Odisha state of India. On checking a visual story article published on Oneindia.com on 21 June, 2023, we found that an image from the recent Rath Yatra of Jagannath closely resembled the frames from the viral video.

Further, we found a video containing aerial footage showing ‘Jagannath Puri Rath Yatra’ published on the YouTube Channel named Jivjaago Media Films & Anthems. The video frames also matched the viral video–though not exactly.

Then, we conducted a search on YouTube by using relevant keywords and found a short video published on a YouTube account named Allahabadi Musafir. The frames of the short video exactly matched the viral video, while the video title confirmed that the video showed drone footage of Jagannath Rath Yatra in Puri, Odisha. Text superimposed on the video read, “Jai Jagannath [Glory to Jagannath].” Jagannath Puri Rath Yatra (chariot procession) is one of the biggest Hindu festivals and it is organised every year in the month of Ashad at Jagannath temple in Puri, Odisha, India.

Conclusion

The viral video allegedly showing an enormous crowd of supporters of KMC Mayor Balendra Shah regarding Patan High Court’s recent order is misleading. The video actually shows drone footage of Jagannath Rath Yatra, an annual religious procession in the Indian state of Odisha.

Result: False

Sources
One India, 21 June, 2023
Jivjaago Media Films & Anthems/YouTube, 21 June, 2023
Allahabadi Musafir, 22 June, 2023


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Sanjeeb Phuyal is the Nepali Editor of Newschecker based in Kathmandu, Nepal. He brings over a decade of experience writing and editing news. In his previous stint, he worked as online editor for The Kathmandu Post. With the growth of social media platforms—and the ever-growing competition amongst media outlets to churn out breaking news, he feels that fact-checking every piece of information has become more essential today than ever before.

Sanjeeb Phuyal
Sanjeeb Phuyal
Sanjeeb Phuyal is the Nepali Editor of Newschecker based in Kathmandu, Nepal. He brings over a decade of experience writing and editing news. In his previous stint, he worked as online editor for The Kathmandu Post. With the growth of social media platforms—and the ever-growing competition amongst media outlets to churn out breaking news, he feels that fact-checking every piece of information has become more essential today than ever before.

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