With Pongal celebrations still continuing among the members of the Tamil community across the world, several social media users are sharing a video on social media platforms claiming to show ‘UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s staff enjoying Pongal meal.” The 26 second long video, shows a couple of police officials among several others, seated on a long table, all enjoying a traditional south Indian meal.
The clip has become viral in a short span, with news outlets like The Indian Express carrying a report with a headline that reads, “Viral video shows staff of UK’s PM office celebrating Pongal, eating traditional meal with their hands”
Among the users who posted the video on Twitter was one Alok Jain whose tweet has garnered nearly 200 retweets and almost 2,000 likes.
Another user @MeghUpdates has shared the video along with the caption “Viral Video of UK defense & PM’s office staff celebrating Pongal/Makar Sankranti festival. A welcome change”
Newschecker scanned the comments under the viral video and found several users pointing out that the video was in fact from Ontario, Canada and not from the UK.
Following this, we initiated a keyword search using “Pongal Canada” and found the same video being shared by the number of users suggesting the video is from Canada’s Ontario.
We further found a tweet by @berryonline carrying photographs that had the same frame as the viral video. According to the bio of the handle, Berry Verbanovic is Mayor of Kitchener, in Ontario, Canada.
At 0:13 sec of the viral video, we can clearly see that Verbanovic is one of the suited men partaking in the meal. Verbanovic’s description reads “Some more pictures from last night’s #ThaiPongal celebration hosted by @waterlootamils. I was honoured to attend and participate!”, indicating that the video was indeed shot in Canada and not UK.
The video was posted on 15th January with the caption “TCA Tamil Thai Pongal Celebration (Tamil Thanksgiving) region of Waterloo politicians, Regional Chair City Mayors, councillors and Police Chief and staff.”
We thus conclude that the viral video showing some police officials and others eating a traditional South Indian meal is originally from Ontario, Canada and does not show UK PM Rishi Sunak’s staff eating Pongal meal.
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