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HomeFact CheckDid Rishi Sunak Perform ‘Religious Rituals’ Before Entering 10 Downing Street As...

Did Rishi Sunak Perform ‘Religious Rituals’ Before Entering 10 Downing Street As UK PM?

Earlier this week Rishi Sunak became the third person to take over the Prime Minister’s office in the United Kingdom within one year. Sunak also became the first Indian-origin person to lead the country. In this backdrop, a video showing the newly appointed ‘Hindu’ Prime Minister of the UK placing diyas (earthen lamps) outside an entrance door is going viral on social media platforms. Those who shared the clip claimed that it showed Sunak performing “religious rituals” before entering 10 Downing Street – British PM’s office and official residence. Newschecker found the claim to be untrue.

Twitter user @ThisIsAfricaTIA shared the viral video with the caption, “The new UK PM performing his spiritual/traditional rituals before entering his new office. We have largely abandoned ours.” The tweet dated October 25, 2022, has amassed over 7,650 retweets and 36.9K likes so far.

10 Downing Street
Screenshot of Tweet by @ThisIsAfricaTIA

Notably, news website Firstpost also carried this tweet in a report stating, “the new UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak performed some religious rituals on Tuesday before entering his new office in 10 Downing Street, proudly displaying his Hindu roots…”

Screenshot of Firstpost article

Several other Twitter users shared the viral video claiming to show Sunak performing “rituals” before entering the new office.

Screenshot of tweet by @Sassy_Hindu
Screenshot of tweet by @Voiceofmeta
Screenshot of tweet by @tv47ke

Archived links to such tweets can be seen here, here, here and here.

The video is going viral on Facebook as well claiming to show “Sunak performing religious rituals before entering his new office 10 Downing Street…”

Screenshot of Facebook post by @thabang.manyana
Screenshot of Facebook post by @thefirstindia
Screenshot of Facebook post by user Chisase Foundation

Links to such Facebook posts can be seen here, here, here and here.

Also Read: Rishi Sunak At Beach Party? No, Viral Video Features UK PM’s Doppelganger

Fact Check/Verification

We began our investigation by ascertaining whether Sunak performed any “religious rituals” before entering the British PM residence or not, and looked up keywords “Rishi Sunak,” “lighting diyas,” “religious,” and “10 Downing Street” on Google. However, the search did not yield any relevant result.

Following this, we conducted a Google search for “Rishi Sunak enters 10 Downing Street” which led us to a report by Independent.ie, dated October 25, 2022, titled ‘Rishi Sunak enters 10 Downing Street for the first time as Prime Minister.’

Screengrab from Independent.ie website

The report carried a video showing Sunak walking into 10 Downing Street for the first time as the UK PM. However, it did not show Sunak performing any religious rituals. Sunak was seen entering the house as usual and greeting people already present inside. 

Reports by several news outlets carried visuals of Sunak entering the historic residence for the first time as the UK’s PM, however none of these showed him lighting the diyas at entrance as seen in the viral video. Such reports can be seen here, here and here

Additionally, we found the texture of the wall next to the entrance gate seen in the viral video to be different from the visuals of 10 Downing Street during Sunak’s entry.

(L-R) Screengrab from viral video and screengrab from video published in independent.ie website

We could thus conclude that the viral video does Sunak performing “religious rituals” before entering 10 Downing Street. 

We continued our investigation to know more about the viral footage showing the new UK PM lighting diyas and conducted a keyword search for “Rishi Sunak lighting diyas” on Google which led us to a report by NDTV, dated November 13, 2020, titled ‘Watch: Rishi Sunak Lights Diya On Downing Street In London Ahead Of Diwali.’ Displaying a still from the viral video, the report stated, “UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak was seen lighting diya (earthen lamps) outside Number 11 in Downing Street, his official residence in London, ahead of the festival of Diwali.”

The report also carried a tweet by the Indians in London Group (@IIL2004), dated November 13, 2020, captioned, “Chancellor of Exchequer Rt. Honourable @RishiSunak  for the 1st time in  British History Lit Diwali Diya at 11 Downing Street . Proud moment for #BritishHindus  and #BritishIndians .It’s Happy Diwali Indeed Let the festivities begin.”

The post also carried a video showing Sunak placing diyas outside his-then official residence and lighting them. Around 30 seconds into the video, we spotted the viral clip claiming to show the first Indian-origin UK PM doing “religious rituals” before entering 10 Downing street. 
(L-R) Screengrab from viral video and screengrab from video tweeted by @IIL2004 in November 2020

Following this, we conducted a keyword search for “Rishi Sunak,”diyas, & “11 Downing Street” and set the time frame of search from November 1, 2020 to November 30, 2020. This threw up several reports on Sunak’s Diwali celebrations, carrying visuals from the viral video. Such reports can be seen here, here and here.

Furthermore, in a tweet dated November 14, 2020, Sunak shared a clip from his interview on Diwali celebrations. Some visuals from the viral video can be seen interspersed in the same.

Conclusion

Viral post claiming to show Rishi Sunak performing “religious rituals” before entering 10 Downing Street is false. The video is from 2020 and shows Sunak putting diyas and rangoli outside 11 Downing Street.

Result: False

Sources

Report By Independent.ie, Dated October 25, 2022
Report By NDTV, Dated November 13, 2020
Tweet By @IIL2004, Dated November 13, 2020


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Vasudha Beri
Vasudha Beri
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.
Vasudha Beri
Vasudha Beri
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.

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