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Fact Check: Old Video Of Top Bahadur Rayamajhi Dancing Resurfaces With False Claim

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
Top Bahadur Rayamajhi dancing to a Nepali folk tune after his arrest
Fact
2021 video shows Rayamajhi dancing in a programme and he has not been arrested yet

A 28-second video allegedly showing Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Lenninist (CPN-UML) Top Bahadur Rayamaji dancing to celebrate his arrest is being widely shared among Nepali social media users. Newschecker found the claim to be misleading.

CPN-UML Secretary Top Bahadur Rayamajhi has been on the run after the court issued an arrest warrant against him and his son for their alleged role in the fake Bhutanese refugee scam. Rayamajhi is among the high-profile individuals including Nepali Congress lawmaker and former Home Minister Bal Krishna Khand, Indrajit Rai, security advisor to former Home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa, and secretary at the President’s office Tek Narayan Pandey, Thapa’s son Prateek, Rai’s song Niraj and Rayamajhi’s son Sandeep implicated in the scam for their alleged links with the racket providing fake Bhutanese refugee certification to Nepali citizens to go to America. Police on Wednesday (May 10) arrested NC leader Khand.

On June 14, 2022, the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Nepal Police had launched an investigation after the victims of fraud filed a case against the racket at the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority in 2021. The group had allegedly been swindling over 875 people from different places of Nepal by promising to fly them to the United States as Bhutanese refugees.

Against this backdrop, TikTok user @vilrant_c posted a video of CPN-UML leader Top Bahadur Rayamajhi dancing to a Nepali folk tune. Text superimposed on the video reads, “Top Bahadur Rayamajhi dancing to celebrate his arrest.” A Nepali folk song titled ‘Sarangi Ryai Ryai’ by singer Pashupati Sharma is played in the background. The archived version of the TikTok video can be seen here.

The video posted on May 3 has garnered 121 likes, 14 shares and nine users have commented on it until the time of publishing this article.

Likewise, Facebook user Pradeep KC posted the same video of Rayamajhi dancing on May 3. The video caption reads, “The situation after the arrest warrant was issued against former minister Rayamajhi.” The video posted on May 3 has been viewed 563 times and five people have commented on it.  

Another Facebook page named Aamchok Chautari posted the same video of Top Bahadur Rayamajhi dancing. The caption of the video reads, “CPN-UML leader Top Bahadur Rayamajhi dancing upon learning that an arrest warrant has been issued against him after finding his involvement in sending Nepali people to America by providing fake Bhutanese Refugees certificates.” The video posted on May 3 has been viewed 2.1k times until the last count. 

Fact Check /Verification

To check the authenticity of the claim made in the viral video, Newschecker took several keyframes from the viral video and conducted reverse searches on them. However, it didn’t yield any relevant results. Then, we conducted a search on YouTube by using relevant Nepali keywords but the results didn’t relate to the claim made by the viral video.

Further, we conducted a search on Facebook by using relevant keywords and found several videos matching the viral video. The results showed that the video is being shared widely after the court issued an arrest warrant against Rayamajhi in connection with Bhutanese refugee scam. On checking a three-minute and forty-six second video posted by Facebook user Prakash Raj on 5 April 2021, we found that the video from 0.55-minute onwards exactly matched the viral video. However, the audio accompanying the video titled ‘Top Bahadur dancing to the instrumental tune’ didn’t match the viral video. We found that the viral video is old and has no connection with the recent fake refugee scam.

Then, we searched for the latest news regarding the status of CPN-UML secretary Top Bahadur Rayamajhi. We found several news articles confirming that the CPN-UML has decided to suspend Rayamajhi from the post of party president. On checking a news article published on The Kathmandu Post online, we found that the party issued a statement on Wednesday on its decision to suspend Rayamajhi from the post in view of the recent developments in Bhutanese refugee scam. Rayamajhi was last spotted attending a programme in Arghakhanchi last Thursday but went into hiding after knowing that the authorities are all prepared to arrest him.Earlier on Tuesday, the CPN-UML had directed him to turn himself in to the state authorities and support in the investigation process.  

Conclusion

Theviral video allegedly showing CPN-UML leader Top Bahadur Rayamajhi dancing after an arrest warrant was issued against him in the fake Bhutanese refugee scam is misleading. Many old videos of Rayamajhi are being shared online after he disappeared following the court order.

Result: False

Sources
Prakash Raj /Facebook, 5 April 2021
The Kathmandu Post /Online, 10 May, 2023
Pradeep KC /Facebook, 3 May, 2023
Aamchok Chautari, 3 May, 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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