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HomeFact CheckDid Sonam Wangchuk Demand A Referendum In Kashmir? Here’s The Truth Behind...

Did Sonam Wangchuk Demand A Referendum In Kashmir? Here’s The Truth Behind Viral Video

Authors

Vasudha noticed the growing problem of mis/disinformation online after studying New Media at ACJ in Chennai and became interested in separating facts from fiction. She is interested in learning how global issues affect individuals on a micro level. Before joining Newschecker’s English team, she was working with Latestly.

Pankaj Menon is a fact-checker based out of Delhi who enjoys ‘digital sleuthing’ and calling out misinformation. He has completed his MA in International Relations from Madras University and has worked with organisations like NDTV, Times Now and Deccan Chronicle online in the past.

Claim
Sonam Wangchuk demanded a referendum in Kashmir.

Fact
Clipped version of Wangchuk’s remarks shared out of context.

Several social media users, including verified handles, shared a video of activist Sonam Wangchuk claiming that he demanded a referendum in Kashmir. In the video, Wangchuk is heard saying, “Any place should be happy. They should go whenever they want to go…You must have heard of referendums, plebiscites…So if everyone thinks like this..then why not in Kashmir?” Newschecker found that the video has been shared out of context.

Such posts can be seen here, here and here.

Also Read: Old Video Of Punjab Ex-Servicemen Protesting Against AAP in Haryana Linked To 2024 Lok Sabha Polls

Fact Check/Verification

We found the viral footage was taken from Wangchuk’s recent interview with Ravindra Singh Sheoran. The full video was uploaded on the journalists YouTube channel ‘The Fourth Estate’ on May 13, 2024.

Screengrab from YouTube video by The Fourth Estate

Around 13 minutes into the video Sheoran is heard saying, “We have seen this for the first time that Kargil and Leh came together, were on the same page, had the same demands in a movement under your leadership. However, as the elections approached the differences became visible again. Is this painful for you?”

Responding to the same, Wangchuk says, “ Yes. I think we should not just look at today and tomorrow. Today what our region or religion will do. We should consider the years, months and generations to come. Hence, regardless of the situation, if someone from Leh is hopeful about someone from Kargil, then do accordingly. If the people of Kargil see hope in any candidate from Leh, that in future this person will be helpful in transforming Ladakh into a better, prosperous place for our children or grandchildren, then they should do it. And not think about today, tomorrow or hatred and things like that.”

Also Read: Pakistan Flag Waved During Shiv Sena (UBT) Rally? No, Viral Claim Is False

Sheoran then recounts Wangchuk’s reaction to a tweet (X post) by a politician from Kargil, and asks “There was a demand from a long time to convert this area into a UT, however, it is said that they still want to go with Kashmir. What do you think about the same?”

“No, I want to ask whether it is the personal opinions of a few. If it is for the entire region and the population wishes so, then we will pray and work hard that it happens…Any place in the world should be happy. They should go whenever they want to go…You must have heard of referendums, plebiscites…So if everyone thinks like it..then why not in Kashmir,” Wangchuk says.

Wangchuk shared a video message on his official X account on May 20, 2024, refuting the viral claim, and stated that the video is clipped and his statement has been distorted.  He said, “A few days back, Sajjad Kargili, a politician from Kargil, had said in a tweet that if Ladakh is not being given statehood, then the government should think of merging it back with Jammu and Kashmir. Reacting to the same I had said that this (merger with Jammu & Kashmir) can be a personal opinion, but if all the leaders and people of Kargil want it, then they can integrate with Kashmir…Leh-Ladakh would continue to be a UT.”

Screengrab from X post by @Wangchuk66

We also found the X post by Sajjad Kargili, dated May 10, 2024, mentioned by Wangchuk in the video. The same can be seen below.

Screengrab from X post by @SajjadKargirli_

Sheoran also clarified, “During the interview I had asked his views on Sajjad Kargili’s tweet, and he (Wangchuk) said that if this is the opinion of everyone in Kargil then they should join Kashmir. There is no mention of a referendum in Kashmir in the entire interview.”

Screengrab from YouTube video by The Fourth Estate

As per the Jammu & Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019, Jammu and Kashmir was disintegrated into two Union Territories  – Jammu & Kashmir, and Ladakh. Ladakh was further divided into two districts – Leh and Kargil.

Also Read: BJP Uses Photo Of Singapore Metro On Poster Hailing PM Narendra Modi’s Contribution In Developing Metro Connectivity

Conclusion

We could thus conclude that Sonam Wangchuk’s reaction to an X post by a Kargil politician has been shared out of context.

Result: Missing Context

Sources
YouTube Video By The Fourth Estate, Dated May 13, 2024
X Post By @Wangchuk66, Dated May 20, 2024


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Authors

Vasudha noticed the growing problem of mis/disinformation online after studying New Media at ACJ in Chennai and became interested in separating facts from fiction. She is interested in learning how global issues affect individuals on a micro level. Before joining Newschecker’s English team, she was working with Latestly.

Pankaj Menon is a fact-checker based out of Delhi who enjoys ‘digital sleuthing’ and calling out misinformation. He has completed his MA in International Relations from Madras University and has worked with organisations like NDTV, Times Now and Deccan Chronicle online in the past.

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