A Facebook post claims there was a massive crowd at Bangalore’s KR Market on the occasion of Varamahalaxmi ignoring social distancing norms amid the ongoing pandemic.
Posted on the night of 1st August, 2020, the Facebook post states the following:
“Bangaloreans are not at all afraid of Corona. 1.Aug.2020
KR Market today for Varamahalaxmi shopping.
Govt is silent because they want business to flourish at any cost.
Now all sensible Bangaloreans have to prepare themselves to brace the demon reaching their doorsteps through these people.”
The video in context has been widely circulated on social media platforms in the past few days after the Varamahalaxmi festival celebrated last week.
Other social media users have posted this video with similar claims. See you can an examples of this below:
Fact Check/ Verification
Varamahalaxmi also known as Varalakshmi Vratam is celebrated to worship Goddess Varalakshmi in most South Indian states. Krishna Rajendra Market (KR Market) in Bangalore, Karnataka one of the largest wholesale markets in the city and is usually a popular location for shopping during this festival.
Owing to the continuing ban on large public gatherings, we did a Twitter advanced search to find any relevant notice/ announcements from Bangalore’s official government accounts. Through this we came across a 31 July tweet posted by Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagar Palike (BBMP) Commissioner, N. Manjunatha Prasad, which stated an extended closure of KR Market and Kalisapalya till 31 August, 2020.
The tweet read as follows:
“KR Market & Kalisapalya will continue to be closed till August 31, 2020.
ಕೊರೋನಾ ಸೋಂಕು ಹರಡುತ್ತಿರುವುದರಿಂದ, KR ಮಾರ್ಕೆಟ್ & ಕಲಾಸಿ ಪಾಳ್ಯ ಮಾರ್ಕೆಟ್ ನಲ್ಲಿ ಇಂದಿಗೆ ಕೊನೆಯಾಗುತ್ತಿರುವ ಸೀಲ್ ಡೌನ್ ಅವಧಿಯನ್ನು ದಿನಾಂಕ: 31-08-2020 ವರೆಗೆ ಮುಂದುವರೆಸಲಾಗಿದೆ. ಸುರಕ್ಷತೆಯ ಆದ್ಯತೆಗೆ ಈ ನಿರ್ಧಾರ ಕೈಗೊಳ್ಳಲಾಗಿದೆ.”
The above translates to: Due to the spread of coronavirus, the current sealed down period at KR Market & Kalasi Palya Market has been extended till 31-08-2020. This decision has been made to prioritize safety.
After reading the BBMP Commissioner’s tweet, we suspected the video to be shared with a misplaced context. So we did a Google search using the keywords: KR Market Varamahalaxmi bangalore.
This led us to a Youtube video titled, “Varamahalakshmi croud at KR Market Bengaluru.” Posted on 8 August, 2019 we found this to be the same 3.35 minute video posted in the initial claim. Below are screenshots from both the videos which show a man wearing a blue jacket with white stripes looking over the crowd.
Further, we added the word “crowd” to our keyword search on Google and found more links to the same video posted in 2019. One of them is posted on Oneindia Kannada portal’s Youtube channel on 8 August, 2019.
The same video posted by social media users in August 2019, as well as the announcement of the extended closure of Bangalore’s KR market by BBMP Commissioner, make it clear that the video in context is old and has nothing to do with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Result: Misplaced Context
BBMP Commissioner’s tweet
2019 Youtube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M25-wfJ1q7A
Oneindia Kannada: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mPULQDp3oxg
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