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Fact Check: Viral Video Claiming Loan Shark Victims Seeking Justice From Kathmandu Mayor Balen Shah 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 essential today than ever before.

Claim
Loan Shark victims demanding justice from Kathmandu Mayor Balen Shah

Fact
The viral video actually shows loan shark victims trying to enter Khullamanch as part of their effort to set up a camp inside the open space 

A 35-second video showing protestors chanting slogans and using force against some security personnel is going viral on TikTok. The video claims that the loan shark victims arrived in the Capital seeking justice from Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) Mayor Balendra Shah. Newschecker found the claim to be misleading.

TikTok user @rasmeka.karki01 posted a video showing protesters holding placards and trying to enter a compound despite resistance from the security personnel. Text superimposed on the video reads, “Victims of predatory lending from various districts of Madhes province arrived in Kathmandu seeking justice from KMC Mayor Balen Shah. It is strange that the people of this country only trust Balen Shah for justice.” Audio accompanying the video is heard saying, “Balen Shah doesn’t pick up anyone’s phone, there were arrests during a protest by landless squatters. Today loan shark victims have arrived in Kathmandu, is it not the responsibility of the Mayor.” The audio is following another narration saying, “Victims of usurious lending have arrived in Kathmandu from various districts of Madhes Province. They want to enter the Khullamanch but the Kathmandu Metropolitan City.” However, the narration stops abruptly.  The archived version of the TikTok video can be seen here.

The video posted on March 28 has garnered 5109 likes, 67 users have shared it and 234 people have commented on it until the time of publishing this article.

Fact Check /Verification

To check the authenticity of the claim made in the viral video, Newschecker closely observed the video and noticed a watermark on the centre of the video and a logo of otv (Onlinetv Nepal) on the right corner. Taking it as a clue, we checked the YouTube channel named Onlinetv Nepal and found a video whose frame and the audio exactly matched the viral video. The video was posted on the YouTube channel on March 28. On listening to the narration, we learnt that the victims of predatory lending were trying to enter Khullamanch premises but the city police stopped them from entering the Khullamanch—open space in downtown Kathmandu.

Further, we looked up for the news reports about the loan victims who came to Kathmandu. On checking an article published in The Kathmandu Post, we found that hundreds of victims of predatory lending from several Terai districts came to Kathmandu after walking 11 days to put pressure on the government to take action against unscrupulous lenders. The report also confirmed that the government on Tuesday formed a four-member team headed by the joint secretary at the Home Ministry Rudra Devi Sharma to hold talks with the loan shark victims. However, we found that they were not seeking justice from Kathmandu Mayor Balen Shah as claimed in the viral video.

We also checked a news report published on the My Republica online which stated that Kathmandu Mayor Balendra Shah expressed his solidarity with the loan shark victims who have been staging protests at Maitighar in Kathmandu. However, he also expressed his surprise at the attempt to set up camps at Khullamanch, the news report confirmed.

Conclusion

The viral video claiming that the victims of usurious lending, who have been staging protests in Kathmandu, are demanding justice from Kathmandu Metropolitan Mayor Balen Shah lacks context. The onus to address the demands of loan shark victims lies on the government and the issue is not under the jurisdiction of Kathmandu Metropolitan City. The viral video actually shows loan shark victims trying to enter Khullamanch as part of their effort to set up a camp inside the open space that has been locked by Kathmandu Metro City.

Result: Missing Context

Sources
Onlinetv Nepal /YouTube , 27 March, 2023
The Kathmandu Post , 27 March, 2023
My Republica Online, 28 March 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 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 essential today than ever before.

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