Fact check: Video of Barkha Dutt about exodus of Kashmiri Pandits is edited

A 23-second video claiming to show journalist Barkha Dutt justifying genocide and exodus of Kashmiri Pandits has been widely circulated on social media.

By Sabya Singh  Published on  22 March 2022 4:07 AM GMT
Fact check: Video of Barkha Dutt about exodus of Kashmiri Pandits is edited

Hyderabad: A 23-second video claiming to show journalist Barkha Dutt justifying genocide and exodus of Kashmiri Pandits has been widely circulated on social media.

In the video, Dutt can be heard saying, "Today hapless victims, they were the once privileged elite of the valley. They may have been a minority but at that time they had monopolized government jobs, plum postings, and other such social benefits. The sharp economic disparity between the Pandits and the poor Muslim majority was one of the earliest reasons for popular discontent in the state."

Several Twitter and Facebook users shared the video.

https://www.facebook.com/sonali.daaas/videos/1082341418990338/



FactCheck

The claim is misleading.

We noticed the watermark of NDTV and the logo of the show Reality Bites on the viral video.

Taking this as a clue, we conducted a keyword search for 'Barkha Dutt Kashmiri Pandit NDTV' on Google and found a report published on its website on May 7, 2013, with the title 'Kashmiri pandits: The forgotten minority.' The report carried a 21.44-minute video of NDTV's show 'Best Of Reality Bites' featuring Barkha Dutt. It was originally aired in October 2004.

The description of the video read, "Despite all the attention on the state of Jammu and Kashmir, one issue often forgotten is that of the Kashmiri pandits. Ever since the Pandits were forced out of the Valley, they have stayed on the margins of public and political attention. In this episode of Reality Bites, Barkha Dutt investigates the events that led to this mass exodus and also how the danger of a declining population is only made worse by life in exile, as assimilating to new cultures and new cities mean discarding an old ethos and embracing new rituals."

https://www.ndtv.com/video/shows/reality-bites/kashmiri-pandits-the-forgotten-minority-aired-october-2004-273889

At the beginning of the show, Dutt can be heard saying, "The Prime Minister will fly to Srinagar in early April, announcing this after meeting with him in Delhi, Jammu Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed said a new political dialogue at the highest level should get off the ground soon. But in all the attention on the state, often forgotten is the community of Kashmir Pandits. It was exactly 13 years ago, this very month that the Pandits were forced out of the valley and have since stayed on the margins of public and political attention," followed by snippets from interviews with Kashmiri Pandits including director-producer Vidhu Vinod Chopra with the caption 'Living in exile The forgotten minority.'

At 02:55 minutes, there is a brief explainer about the 1990 exodus of Kashmiri Pandits followed by a video of Dr. Shakti Bhan, a Kashmiri migrant, who can be heard narrating her account of the incident.

At 05:36 minutes, we found the keyframe of the viral video. Here Dutt can be heard speaking, "In fact, history has turned full circle for the Kashmiri Pandits. Today hapless victims, were once the privileged elite of the valley. They may have been a minority but at that time they had monopolized government jobs, plum postings, and other such social benefits. The sharp economic disparity between the Pandits and the poor Muslim majority was one of the earliest reasons for popular discontent in the state", and goes on to talk about the condition of Kashmiri pandits after the exodus."

At 8:40 minutes, she can be heard saying, " Perhaps, what is most frightening are reports of the slow and steady demise of the Kashmiri pandit community both in terms of their cultural identities and numerically. It may sound paranoid, but the Kashmiri pandits say their numbers are dwindling."

The video features interviews of several Kashmiri Pandits including H N Jattu of All India Pandits Conference, director-producer Vidhu Vinod Chopra and his mother Subhagrani Chopra among others.

Dutt concludes the video by saying, "Well, the new government in the state finally has a lone Kashmiri Pandit minister. The only one from his community to have won the elections and he has promised to create what he calls mini homelands for the return of the old residents. But let's remember that more than 90 percent of the properties once owned by Kashmiri pandits have been destroyed or ruined and most will never be able to go back to the homes they once lived in."

We can thus conclude that the video essentially highlights the plight, struggles, and conditions of Kashmiri pandits after the 1990 exodus and their longing for their homeland. Notably, a 23-second-long clip has been pulled out from the video and is being shared out of context.

Hence, the claim that Barkha Dutt had justified the mass exodus of Kashmiri pandits is false. The viral clip has been taken out from a longer video highlighting the plight of Kashmiri pandits after the exodus and is being shared out of context.

Claim Review:Barkha Dutt had justified the mass exodus of Kashmiri pandits
Claimed By:Social Media Users
Claim Reviewed By:Newsmeter
Claim Source:Social Media
Claim Fact Check:Misleading
Next Story
Share it