A video showing a seemingly distraught woman, flanked by several others, speaking to Rahul Gandhi inside an aircraft as the Congress leader is seen listening patiently, is going viral on social media platforms. Those sharing the video claim that the video showed “Kashmiri Hindus living abroad” gherao the Congress leader and asking him “why he opposes Modi on Kashmir issues.” Adding that Rahul Gandhi “could not give any answer to this, the national media could hardly show this news.” Newschecker found the claim to be untrue.
Several Facebook and Twitter users shared the video.
News outlet Organiser Weekly, associated with the RSS, also tweeted the video with the caption, “Kashmiri Hindus living abroad surrounded @RahulGandhi while travelling in an airplane and asked why he opposed @narendramodi on #Kashmir issues.” Though the tweet was deleted later, an archived version of the same can be found here.
We carefully inspected and listened to the video. The woman can be heard saying, “….. young children…. can’t go out of the house. If they are out in search of each other, they are apprehended. My brother is a heart patient. He went out to look for his kids … we don’t know his whereabouts for the last 10 days.. We are troubled in everyway….”
But we neither heard any mention of PM Modi, nor was the woman heard asking Gandhi as to “why he opposes Modi on Kashmir issues.”
Further, a keyword search for “Woman Rahul Gandhi Flight” on Google led us to several news reports from August 2019 indicating that the incident is not new, instead dates back to weeks after the abrogation of article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir. One such video report was uploaded on the official YouTube channel for NDTV on August 26, 2019 with the title “Woman Meets Rahul Gandhi On Flight From Srinagar. Priyanka Gandhi Tweets.”
The report detailed that Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi “ripped into authorities” after a delegation of opposition, including Rahul Gandhi, was sent back from Srinagar. Notably, Priyanka Gandhi had shared a tweet by user @arunsingh4775 which carried the viral video and wrote, “How long is this going to continue? This is one out of millions of people who are being silenced and crushed in the name of “Nationalism…. there is NOTHING more ‘political’ and ‘anti national’ than the shutting down of all democratic rights that is taking place in Kashmir. It is the duty of every one of us to raise our voices against it, we will not stop doing so.”
User @arunsingh4775, who is also a journalist, had shared the video with the caption which roughly translates to “While coming back from Srinagar, a woman narrates her difficulties to Rahul Gandhi on a flight.”
A Scroll.in report, dated August 25, 2019, stated, “On the flight back to New Delhi, a woman stepped up to speak to Rahul Gandhi and narrated the ordeal of the Kashmiris living under a communication blockade.”
Rahul Gandhi and other opposition leaders had travelled to Srinagar, weeks after Article 370 was revoked in August 2019. However, the leaders were sent back to Delhi from Srinagar airport itself. Gandhi had said, “We wanted to get a sense of what people are going through and help the situation if we could. But unfortunately we were not allowed to go beyond the airport. The press people with us were mishandled, beaten. It’s clear that things are not normal in Jammu and Kashmir.”
The incident took place while the leaders were on their way back to Delhi. Several media outlets had reported on Rahul Gandhi’s encounter with the woman on flight. You can read them here, here and here.
We were not able to independently verify if the woman seen in the video was a pandit or not.
Old Video Resurfaces
Such misleading posts had gone viral in 2019 as well. A simple keyword search for “Rahul Gandhi Flight Kashmiri” on Facebook led us to several posts carrying the same video with the caption, “Kashmir people in flight to Rahul:Modi is doing good for us. Why do you want to visit Kashmir and trouble us. Please go back.!”
Viral social media post that claims to show a woman questioning Rahul Gandhi on why he opposed PM Modi’s policy on Kashmir is false. The woman seen in the video was narrating the ordeal of the Kashmiris living under a communication blockade following the abrogation of Article 370.
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