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Fact Check: Viral Video Claiming Journalist Dhamala Became Agitated After Home Minister Formed Panel to Look Into Palace Massacre Is Misleading

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
Journalist Rishi Dhamala underscored the need to form a high-level committee to look into the 2001 Palace Massacre.
Fact
Video shows Rishi Dhamala speaking about the need to probe the royal palace massacre.

A video allegedly showing journalist Rishi Dhamala becoming nervous and agitated after Home Minister Rabi Lamichhne formed an investigation commission to look into the 2001 royal palace massacre is going viral on TikTok.

The Nepalese royal massacre occurred on 1 June 2001 at the Narayanhiti Palace in which nine members of the royal family including King Birendra and Queen Aishwarya were gunned down in a mass shooting during a royal family gathering. According to an official investigation formed by then Girja Prasad Koirala led government, crown Prince Dipendra got drunk and killed his father, mother, his younger siblings and other members of the royal family before turning the gun on himself.

Against this backdrop, TikTok user @sarumagar1010 posted a video showing the chairman of Reporters Club Nepal and journalist Rishi Dhamala speaking about the royal palace massacre. Text superimposed on the video reads, “Rishi Dhamala became agitated immediately after the Home Minister Rabi Lamichhane formed a probe panel to look into the 2001 royal palace massacre and nervously said the incident should be investigated.” In the video clip, Dhamala is heard saying, “How did the palace massacre happen, and who orchestrated it and why? I say it should be investigated. Yes, there was an investigation by an official commission formed by the then government, and communist leader Madhav Kumar Nepal refused to be a member of the panel…”

The video posted on June 1 has garnered 229 likes, and 27 users 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 authenticity of the claim made in the viral video, Newschecker closely observed the video and noticed the logo of Abhiral Sanchar on the top right corner of the screen.

Taking a clue from it, we looked up the YouTube channel named Abhiral Sanchar and found a video, dated June 1, 2024, published on the channel. On checking the video, we found that the video clip from 4.22-minute onwards exactly matched the viral clip.

Further, we checked the video thoroughly and found that Nepali political analyst Surendra KC put forth his opinion regarding the royal palace massacre. Expressing his doubts about the official probe panel report, KC said the incident is still a mystery. However, the video didn’t say anything about a fresh probe panel formed to look into the massacre.

We also found another video, dated June 1, 2024, of Dr Sundar Mani Dixit, who is also a political analyst, speaking at the Reporters Club on the same issue. The video showed Dr Dixit expressing his analysis of the circumstances of the royal palace massacre. However, there was no indication of a new probe panel formed to look into the palace massacre.

We, then, ran a search on Google to check if Home Minister Rabi Lamichhane had formed any high-level panel to probe the 2001 royal palace massacre. However, we didn’t find a single piece of evidence to verify that the Home Minister formed such a committee. 

Thus, our findings show that the claim made in the viral video is misleading. 

Conclusion

No, the Home Minister Rabi Lamichhane has not formed any probe panel to look into the palace massacre which happened when Nepal was ruled by a constitutional monarchy. The viral video shows Journalist Dhamala discussing the palace massacre but he was not reacting to the formation of an alleged panel by the Home Minister.

Result: Partly False

Sources
Abhiral Sanachar/YouTube , June 1, 2024
Subhayug TV /YouTube, June 1, 2024


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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 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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