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Fact Check: Old & Unrelated Videos Falsely Shared As Pro-Hindu Rally In Dharan

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 essential today than ever before.

Claim
Videos show pro-Hindu rally organised in Dharan.
Fact
Viral videos show an old religious congregation organised in Birgunj and an annual Hindu festival celebrated in the Indian state of Odisha.

Even as the planned mass gathering by pro-Hindu groups in Dharan sub-metropolitan city in Sunsari district passed off peacefully on August 26, several videos purportedly showing a pro-Hindu rally in Dharan are going viral on social media platforms.

Various Hindu groups were scheduled to converge for an assembly in Dharan on Saturday (26 August) urging for the conservation of cows after videos showing some people from the eastern town consuming beef circulated in social media. Other radical members of the groups took to social media asserting that slaughtering cows is their cultural and religious right.

However, no untoward incidents occurred in Dharan and the adjoining areas on August 26 as the local administration adopted necessary security measures and the locals demonstrated their commitment to social harmony.

Against this backdrop, TikTok user @devyadavnepali posted a video depicting a religious rally. Text superimposed on the video reads, “#Dharan_Update! Around 2500 security personnel have been deployed. Mass rallies from all the entry points are gradually conversing, the situation is turning deadly. Army has been kept on standby, religious fanatics are preparing to move through forest routes. Hail with Hindu unity.” In the audio accompanying the video, people are heard chanting, “Execute the cow-murderer, down with Christian agents.”

The video posted on August 27 has garnered 67.7k likes, 1305 users have shared the video and 28 people have commented on the video. The archived version of the TikTok video can be seen here.

Newschecker found the claim to be misleading.

Another TikTok user @bimalchhetri12345 posted a video showing a huge rally of Hindu devotees holding saffron and flags. Text superimposed on the video reads, “Hindu state Nepal. Those demanding reinstatement of Hindu state organised a peaceful demonstration in Dharan today. Dharan.” In the background audio accompanying the video, people are heard chanting, “Let the Hindu state be reinstated and secularism be scrapped. What do the Nepali people say? They say bring back the Hindu state.”  

The video posted on August 27 has garnered 6644 likes, 231 users have shared it and 414 people have commented on it until the time of publishing this article. The archived version of the TikTok video can be seen here.

Newschecker found the claim to be misleading.

Fact Check /Verification

First Video
To check the authenticity of the claim made in the first viral video, Newschecker took several keyframes from the first viral video and conducted reverse searches on them. The results pointed us to a video, dated 21 June, 2023, published on a YouTube channel named Birgunj Studio Nepal. The video description indicated that the video showed a Gahawamai chariot procession organised in Birgjunj, Parsa. Though the video resembled the viral footage, it didn’t exactly match the viral footage. On comparing the frames from the viral video, we found that viral video was from the same event.

We also found several photos matching the viral video posted on Twitter by one verified handle named Apil Gurung. The caption read, ‘Nope. Not India. This is Nepal. #Gadwa”. Thus, our findings showed that the video doesn’t show a pro-Hindu rally in Dharan demanding to conserve cows, but it actually shows an old religious congregation in Birjung.

Second video
Further, to check the veracity of the claim made in the second viral video, we split the video into several keyframes and conducted reverse searches. The results pointed us towards Jagannath Puri Chariot Procession held annually in Odisha state of India.

Then, we conducted a search on YouTube by using relevant keywords and found a short video, dated 3 July 2022, whose frames exactly matched the viral video. The video was published on the channel named Shiwanikundu. We also found a longer version of the same video posted on Twitter by a handle named Sujata Pandey.

Thus, our findings clearly indicated the viral video actually shows the religious procession organised as part of annual Jagannath Puri Rath Yatra in Odisha state of India.

Conclusion

The viral videos allegedly showing a peaceful rally organised by those seeking to restore Hindu state in Dharan and the procession of the people heading to Dharan to take part in the pro-Hindu congregation to express solidarity for cow conservation are misleading. The viral videos show an old religious procession organised in Nepal’s Birgunj and Odisha’s Jagannath Puri Yatra respectively.

Result: False

Sources
Birgunj Studio Nepal /YouTube , 21 June, 2023
Apil Gurung /Twitter, 20 June, 2023
Shiwanikundu /YoutTube, 3 July, 2022
Sujata Pandey /Twitter, 20 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 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 essential today than ever before.

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