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Fact Check: Viral Video Carrying Purported X Post By Mayor Balen Criticising Religious Conversion 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
Kathmandu Mayor Balen Shah lashes out religious conversion of Hindu people and praises a Hindu religious procession.
Fact
No, Balen Shah has not posted any social media post challenging those involved in converting people by luring them with few sacks of rice.

A social media post attributed to Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) Mayor Balendra Shah, in which the rapper-turned-mayor sarcastically draws the attention of those involved in converting the poor Hindu people by giving a few sacks of rice to the huge crowd of Hindu devotees attending a Birat Krishna Rath Yatara, is going viral on TikTok.

TikTok user @aatith_02 posted a video carrying an alleged screen shot from the x (formerly twitter) post of Kathmandu Mayor Balen Shah. The post is accompanied by an image of a huge crowd of Hindu devotees participating in a religious procession. The alleged X post by Balen Shah reads, “Those of you who are trying to lure the poor people into converting in exchange for a few sacks of rice, see the crowd of Sanatani [Hindu] people attending the Krishna Birat Rath Yatra in Biratnagar. This is just a tip of the iceberg. There are tens of millions out there.”

The video posted on November 3 has garnered 4204 likes, 367 users have shared it and 72 people have commented on the video. The archived version of the TikTok video can be seen here.

Newschecker found the claim to be misleading.

Fact Check /Verification

To check the authenticity of the claim made in the viral video, Newscheker first took a key-frame from the viral video and conducted a reverse search on Google. The search threw up several results matching the image carried in the viral video.

On checking a Facebook post by one Amar Chaudhary, we found that the image showed a huge crowd of Hindu devotees attending a chariot procession organised in Biratnagar in August 2019. We found the same image carried in reddit.com confirming that the image was from Radha Krishna Rath Yatra organised in Biratnagar in August 2019.

Notably, Balen Shah was elected as the mayor of Kathmandu Metropolitan City only in May 2022.

We, then, checked the social media pages of Balendra Shah including X (Twitter) and Facebook but didn’t find any posts matching the claim made in the viral video.

Further, we checked the social media handle named @coldNepal used in the viral video and found that the handle bio reads, “Don’t get confused with its Balen shah parody not associated with Balen shah at all.just a fanboy.”

Thus, our findings clearly show that the alleged post by Mayor Balen Shah criticising those luring Hindu population to convert was misleading as Mayor Shah has never made such a remark.

Conclusion

The viral video allegedly showing a post by Kathmandu Mayor Balen Shah criticising the religious conversion by luring them with a few sacks of rice was not from any social media post by Mayor Shah. The image and social media post carried in the viral video is edited.

Result: Edited

 Sources
Amar Chaudhary/Facebook, August 30, 2019
Reddit
Balen Shah /Facebook
Balen Shah /X (formerly Twitter)


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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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