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HomeEnglishFact Check: PM Dahal Vowed To Launch Fresh Probe Into Palace Massacre?...

Fact Check: PM Dahal Vowed To Launch Fresh Probe Into Palace Massacre? No, Viral Video Is Edited

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
Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal pledges to investigate 2001 royal palace massacre
Fact
Dahal has not made such promises, the viral footage shows him addressing the first meeting of the parliament after becoming the prime minister

A 28-second video claiming that Nepal’s Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, in his address to the parliament, vowed to launch a fresh investigation into the 2001 palace massacre is going viral on TikTok. Newschecker found the claim to be misleading.

The video surfaces at a time when an investigation into a fake Bhutanese refugee scandal has been rocking the political landscape of Nepal, leading to the arrests of former ministers and high-ranking officials.

Nine members of the then royal family were killed in a mass shooting during a royal family gathering on the night of June 1, 2001. According to a probe panel formed to look into the palace massacre, then Crown Prince Dipendra Bir Bikram Shah opened indiscriminate fire, killing his father King Birendra, and mother Queen Aishwariya among other members of the royal family, before turning the gun on himself.

Against this backdrop, TikTok user @prsanta68 posted a video showing the Prime Minister and Chairman of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre) Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ walking up to the dais and addressing the parliament meeting. Text superimposed on the video reads, “The murder of former King Birendra Bir Bikram Shah will be investigated: Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal.” Audio accompanying the video presented in a news reporting style says, “Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal who has been taking the reins of the government, roared that he would expose the murder incident.” However, the narration doesn’t explain which murder incident it is talking about. The voiceover follows Dahal’s speech, “The impunity situation in Nepal that we talk about actually began from this place, and the incident will be re-investigated. We will try to ensure the people’s right to information by bringing out the truth of the incident.” PM Dahal doesn’t specifically mention which incident or the state of impunity. The archived version of the TikTok video can be seen here.

The video posted on May 11 has garnered 19.2k likes, 172 users have shared it and 438 people have commented on it until the time of publishing this article.

Fact Check /Verification

To check the veracity of the claim made by the viral video, Newschecker took several keyframes from the viral video and conducted reverse searches on them. The results pointed us to the speech of Prime Minister Dahal in the first meeting of the House of Representatives after the elections on November 20, 2022.

Then we conducted a search on YouTube by using relevant keywords and found a live streamed video of the first parliament meeting posted on the Channel of AP1 HD Television on 9 January, 2023. On checking the video thoroughly, we found that the video frame from 21.39-minute onwards exactly matched the viral footage. But the audio didn’t match Dahal’s speech in the parliament. He basically thanked the newly elected lawmakers and outlined the government’s focus on national unity and the way forward for taking the country on the path of prosperity. We found another video of Dahal’s address to the parliament published on the YouTube Channel of Setopati online. But nowhere in his nearly six-minute-long speech did Dahal mention that the government will form a probe panel to look into the murder of King Birendra that took place in 2001.

Further, we looked for news regarding Pushpa Kamal Dahal’s promise to look into the 2001 palace massacre but didn’t find any relevant results. Though we couldn’t find the original audio of Dahal’s speech used in the video, we found that the footage of Dahal’s speech was edited by laying an unrelated audio on top.

Conclusion

The viral video claiming that Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal vowed to launch an investigation into the 2001 palace massacre is misleading, the viral footage actually shows Prime Minister Dahal’s address to the parliament after the November 20 elections.

Result: Edited Video

Sources
AP1 HD Television/YouTube, 9 January, 2023
Setopati.com/YouTube, 9 January, 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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