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Fact Check: Screenshot of Kathmandu Mayor Balan Warning To Use Bulldozer For Not Granting US Visa To Cricketer Lamichhane Is Digitally Altered

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
Balen Shah posted a Facebook status warning to use bulldozer if Sandeep Lamaichhane is not granted a US visa.
Fact
Viralscreenshot is digitally created.

A purported screenshot of a Facebook post by Mayor of Kathmandu Metropolitan City Balendra Shah in which the mayor warned of using a bulldozer if Nepali cricketer Sandeep Lamichhane is denied a visa is going viral on TikTok.

The alleged screenshot of Mayor Shah went viral after the United States Embassy in Kathmandu denied a visa to Nepali leg-spinner Sandeep Lamichhane, who was preparing to travel to the US to play ICC Men’s T20 World Cup. Lamichhane’s visa application was rejected twice in ten days despite diplomatic initiatives from the Nepal government, Cricket Association of Nepal and the International Cricket Council.

Against this backdrop, TikTok user @cricket.fan548 posted a video carrying an alleged screenshot of a Facebook post by Kathmandu Mayor Balendra Shah. The purported post on his verified page reads, “Either grant visa to Sandeep Lamichhane. If not, then I will use a bulldozer and demolish it tomorrow. How could you grant visas to thieves and deny a visa to a player.” The video is accompanied by a song about the pride of Nepali people. The screenshot shows 156,318 users have reacted to the post.  

The video posted on May 31 has garnered 9772 likes, 286 users have shared it and 439 people have commented on it.

The archived version of the TikTok video can be seen here.

Newschecker found the claim to be misleading.

Fact Check/Verification

To check the veracity of the claim made in the viral video, we looked up the comments on the video and noticed that some of the people expressed their doubts about the post made by Balen Shah.

We then ran a search on Google by using relevant keywords if Balen Shah—who often makes headlines for his unapologetic social media posts—had made any comments regarding the visa controversy of Sandeep Lamichhne. We didn’t find anything matching the claim.

We, then, checked the verified Facebook page of Balen Shah and searched if he had posted anything about the US Embassy’s refusal to grant visa to Sandeep Lamichhane. However, we didn’t find any post by Shah regarding the visa issue of Lamichhane.

Further, we compared Balen Shah’s Facebook posts and the purported post on the viral screenshot and noticed several discrepancies, one of them being bizarre text instead of the ‘see more’ button at the end of post. Thus, our findings clearly indicate that the viral screen shot is digitally edited.

Conclusion

No, Kathmandu Mayor Balendra Shah didn’t post on his Facebook account threatening to use bulldozer if Sandeep Lamichhane was not granted a visa to go to the US to play the T20 Cricket World Cup, the viral video is edited. 

Result: Edited

Sources
Balen Shah /Facebook


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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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