Hyderabad: A video of a man entering a Durga puja pandal and disrupting festivities has gone viral on social media.

In the video, the man can be heard saying: “If you want to live in Malwani, you’ll have to chant Aslam Bhai, Aslam Bhai. Modiji won’t come here, only Aslam Bhai will."

Incident allegedly took place at Malvani, Malad suburb in Mumbai.

Users shared this video along with a claim challenging the media to cover this incident.

"Entered into the pandal and said to stop the bhajan. 'If you want to live in the colony, chant Aslam Bhai, Modi will not come here!' Malad Mumbai incident! If news channels, who talk about communal harmony, have courage should show this incident," reads the claim.

This post was shared widely on social media. It generated a lot of communally charged discourse in the comment section.



Archive of the Tweet can be accessed here.

The same video shared widely on Facebook.

Archive of the post can be accessed here.

Factcheck:

This video is from 2019, and the claims made in social media posts are MISLEADING.

A reverse image search of one of the keyframes by Newsmeter revealed that this video was widely circulated last year during the time of Navaratri.

The incident indeed took place in Malwani, Malad suburb. In fact, BBC Hindi verified this video in 2019 by contacting the person in the video and identified him as Ashish Singh. In conversation with BBC, he said, "I am a Hindu myself, and the video was made for entertainment purposes only. Some people are circulating my video with the wrong message to incite passion."

Ashish further stated that the person whom he asks to stop the music is his close friend Ravi Shankar Dubey. After the video went viral, he and Ravi had put another video on social media in which they appealed to the people not to share their Durga Puja Pandal video with misleading claims.

Complaint letter and clarification video tweeted by Ashish on 10 Oct 2019 can be seen here.

Excerpt from complaint letter reads, “This video has been made in a friendly manner. My friend uploaded the video to entertain our other friends on social media such as Facebook and WhatsApp. No such unwarranted incident has happened at Navratri pandal.

He noted that they both belong to the Hindu community and are very good friends. "Our intention is not to hurt anybody. The uploading of the said video is taken adversely by communal elements to disturb peace and harmony in the locality.”

Several users identified Ashish as Aslam Sheik, who is a local Congress leader from Malad, Mumbai. Ashish even clarified to BBC that he casually took Aslam Sheik’s name and “leader has no connection with the incident.”

This incident was previously fact-checked by Alt News Hindi and The Print.

Newsmeter can conclude that social media claims about this video are MISLEADING and this 2019 video resurfaced again this year during Navaratri with a false communal narrative.

Claim Review :   Fact Check: Old Durga puja pandal ‘entertainment’ video from Mumbai shared with communal narrative
Claimed By :  Unknown
Fact Check :  false

Vamsi Krishna Pothuru

Vamsi Krishna Pothuru completed his Masters in Communication from The University of Hyderabad. He has interned with The New Indian Express and Kriti Social Initiatives. With the specialization of media research in masters, he submitted his thesis on the topic of "Fact-checking Initiatives and their response to Fake News in India." He believes that fact-checkers have a huge role to play in the fight against fake news which is a dangerous undercurrent in social media reinforcing hatred and false perceptions. Along with fact-checking, he is also interested in writing about environmental issues and human interest stories.

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