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HomeEnglishFact Check: Viral Video Falsely Claims PM Dahal And Baburam Bhattarai 'Plotted...

Fact Check: Viral Video Falsely Claims PM Dahal And Baburam Bhattarai ‘Plotted To Murder Ex-King Birendra’

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
Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ and his war-time deputy Baburam Bhattarai plotted to kill former King Birendra
Fact
Viral video shows Dahal and Bhattarai speaking at an interaction ahead of the peace deal. The probe committee had concluded that Prince Dipendra, fueled by alcohol and drugs, shot dead his family members before turning the gun on himself.

A video claiming that incumbent Prime Minister and Chairman of CPN (Maoist Centre) Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Socialist Party of Nepal Chairman Baburam Bhattarai had plotted to kill former King Birendra Bir Bikram Shah is going viral on TikTok.

TikTok user @jaynepal622 posted a video showing Prime Minister and CPN (Maoist Centre) Chairman Dahal, who is popularly known by his nom de guerre ‘Prachanda’, speaking in Hindi.  Text superimposed on the video reads, “The plan to murder Nepal’s former King Birendra Bir Bikram Shah was made by Prachanda and Baburam Bhattarail. Hear them talk about the royal family.” The footage also shows Prachanda’s wartime deputy Baburam Bhattarai speaking in English. “First thing is that we need to get rid of this feudal and autocratic system—monarchy. Secondly we are trying to adopt federalism in the country by incorporating the oppressed, indigenous nationalities and gender minorities for which we have reached a tentative agreement with the political parties,” Dahal is heard saying in Hindi. “And it is necessary to democratise the Nepal Army which historically had been loyal to feudal lords or monarchy for the past 2038 years. Dahal’s speech follows a clip showing Baburam Bhattarai saying, “We feel this peace process will succeed. Soon we’ll be seeing democratic republican Nepal.” Then another clip shows Dahal saying, “We have decided to join the interim government but a majority of top-rung leaders will stay out of the government.”

The video posted on October 27 has garnered 11.8k likes, 2736 users have shared it and 1029 people have commented on it until the time of publishing this article.
The archived version of the TikTok video can be seen here.

Newschecker found the claim to be misleading.

Nepal’s Royal Massacre

Nine members of Nepal’s royal family including the then King Birendra Bir Bikram Shah were killed at Narayanhiti Palace in Kathmandu, Nepal on June 1, 2001. The other victims of the royal palace massacre included Queen Aishwarya, Prince Dipendra, Prince Nirajan, Princess Shruti, Prince Dhirendra, Princess Jayanti, Princess Shanti, Princess Sharda, Kumar Khadka and other members of the royal family.

Fact Check /Verification

To check the authenticity of the claim made in the viral video, Newschecker took several keyframes from the viral video and conducted reverse searches on them but the results didn’t match.

So we looked up several media reports regarding the findings of a high-level probe panel formed by the then chief justice to investigate the royal palace massacre. The probe committee had concluded that Prince Dipendra, fueled by alcohol and drugs, shot dead his family members before turning the gun on himself.

We, then, conducted a search on YouTube by using relevant keywords from the viral video and found a video, dated July 23, 2015, published on the YouTube Archive of AP. On checking the video, we found that the video frames from 0.24-minute onwards exactly matched the viral video.  

The video description noted that the press meet was held on November 18, 2006 when the then underground Maoists were preparing to sign a peace deal to end their decade long armed revolt in Nepal. The Comprehensive Peace Agreement was signed on November 21, 2006, between the former rebel Maoists and the then seven political parties.

Further, we watched the AP Archive video and noticed a banner hung in the background in which ‘Prospects of New Nepal Interaction with Com Prachanda and Baburam Bhattrai’ was written. Taking a clue, we ran a keyword search on Google and found an article titled ‘Prospects of New Nepal’ published on the website of Observer Research Foundation. The article dated December 7, 2006, noted that the Observer Research Foundation hosted an exciting, in-depth interaction with Nepalese Maoist leaders Prachanda and Baburam Bhattarai on November 18, 2006.

Thus, our findings clearly indicate that the viral video falsely blames Prime Minister Dahal ‘Prachanda’ and leader Baburam Bhattarai for conspiring to kill the then King Birendra.

Conclusion

The claim made in the viral video that Prime Minister Prachanda and former Prime Minister Bhattarai were involved in plotting the murder of former King Birendra is misleading. The video shows the former underground leaders speaking at an interaction on the eve of signing the peace deal in November 2006.

Result: False

Sources
AP Archive /YouTube July 23, 2015
Observe Research Foundation, December 7, 2006
ABC News, June 15, 2001
Nepal Research


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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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