Tuesday, August 3, 2021
Tuesday, August 3, 2021
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2017 Video Of Rohingya Protest In Dhaka Shared With Misleading Claims Related To Kolkata

A social media user shared a video on Twitter claiming that the group of people shown chanting Islam zindabad are from Kolkata, West Bengal whose current chief minister is Mamata Banerjee. The video shows a massive crowd of people marching on the street with “Stop Genocide in Arakan” written on hand-held boards. The tweet reads:

“This is not Karachi, Kashmir or Kerala. No, this chant of “Islam Zindabad” is being raised in Kolkata, capital city of #MamataBanerjee-ruled #WestBengal!” 

This video has been shared on Facebook as well. You can see a few examples below. 

https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=3497557973596279&id=642725062412932
https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=1955670487903140&id=100003806246885

Fact Check/ Verification

A reverse image search led us to a Youtube video posted by Associated Press Archive in September 2017. Titled “Dhaka protesters call for Myanmar to “free” Rakhine state,” its description read: 

“(18 Sep 2017) More than 10,000 Muslims belonging to a hardline Islamic group protested outside the Myanmar embassy in Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka on Monday, demanding that Naypyitaw stop its crackdown on Rohingya Muslims who have fled their homes in Myanmar’s Rakhine state. The protesters chanted slogans and waved the Bangladeshi flag as they marched through the streets of the capital. The protest organised by the Islamist group Hefazat-e-Islam began from Bangladesh’s main mosque but was stopped by police well before the protesters reached the embassy.

More than 412,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled their homes in Rakhine and are living in camps in Bangladesh after fleeing violence in Myanmar. Ethnic Rohingya have faced persecution and discrimination in majority-Buddhist Myanmar for decades and are denied citizenship, even though many families have lived there for generations. The government says there is no such ethnicity as Rohingya and say they are Bengalis who illegally migrated to Myanmar from Bangladesh.” 

Taking cue from this we performed a keyword search on Youtube which led us to another video published in September 2017 and titled “Islami Andolon Bangladesh enclose myanmar Embassy.” 

Published by a channel named Spice Info Tube this video is a longer version of the video from the claim. You can watch the exact keyframes from the claim’s video from 57 seconds. Note, this video does not include audio as heard in the initial claim. 

Left: Keyframe from the claim's video  Right: Keyframe from video titled "Islami Andolon Bangladesh enclose myanmar Embassy"
Left: Keyframe from the claim’s video Right: Keyframe from video titled “Islami Andolon Bangladesh enclose myanmar Embassy”

We found another video of the protest published by Islami Shasantantra Chhatra Andolan, student wing of one of the biggest Islamist political party’s in Bangladesh, the Islami Andolan Bangladesh (IAB). 

Hindustan Times published an article on the same. You can read it here.

Twitter Clarifications

Tarek Fatah, a columnist at The Toronto Sun and author (as per his Twitter profile) had tweeted this claim earlier. He has since deleted the tweet and posted a clarification that the video is from a protest march in Dhaka, not Kolkata. His tweet reads:  

“Yesterday I tweeted about a protest march that I was made to believe took place in Kolkata. It turns out I was given the wrong information. The protest march was held in Dhaka, not Kolkata. I have therefore deleted that Tweet and would like to apologize to you for my mistake.”

Earlier today, the West Bengal police posted a clarification on Fatah’s tweet stating that “a video clip from Bangladesh is being circulated intentionally to defame West Bengal Administration. Legal action is being taken.” 

Kolkata police from its verified Twitter handle also posted a clarification on the claim. 

The video in context was viral with a different claim earlier. You can read more about this in our Bengali fact check here

Conclusion 

The video of people marching down a street with “Stop Genocide in Arakan” written on hand-held boards is infact from Dhaka, Bangladesh. It’s from a 2017 protest organised by Islamist group Hefazat-e-Islam “demanding that Naypyitaw stop its crackdown on Rohingya Muslims who have fled their homes in Myanmar’s Rakhine state.”

Result: Misplaced Context  

Our Sources

West Bengal Police Twitter post

Kolkata Police Twitter post

Associated Press Archive Youtube video

Islami Shasantantra Chhatra Andolan’s video

Hindustan Times: https://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/20-000-islamist-hardliners-march-in-bangladesh-in-protest-of-rohingya-violence/story-HWn7c3dMfH48gLSu0OwVXM.html


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Nikita Vashisth
Nikita is a writer and editor for English fact-checking. She also leads projects to understand the misinformation and fake-news ecosystem—with an emphasis on data and psychology. Previously, she has worked with IndiaSpend, CNN-News18 and written for Citizen Matters and Mongabay-India on the environment, health, and politics. She’s a postgraduate of the Computational Journalism program at Cardiff University, Wales.

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