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HomeFact CheckKolkata: Did Men From ‘A Specific Community’ Barge Into Quest Mall &...

Kolkata: Did Men From ‘A Specific Community’ Barge Into Quest Mall & Demand Free Food, Gifts For Eid?

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.

Claim
Members of a particular religion barged into a mall in Kolkata due to soaring temperature and demanded free food and gifts for Eid. The mall owner was rendered helpless as police refused to file a complaint.

Fact
Residents of the neighbouring localities gathered in Quest Mall complaining about long power cuts in Kolkata. They were later escorted out by the police. The Vice President of Quest Mall clarified that no demands for food or gifts were made. 

A video of a group of men gathered inside a closed complex is going viral on social media platforms. Several users shared the footage to target a particular community, allegeling that they forced their way into Kolkata’s Quest Mall amid soaring temperatures and demanded free food and gifts for Eid – insinuating that they were Muslim. They further claimed that the incident rendered the mall owner helpless after “police’s refusal to register an FIR.” Newschecker found that though the visuals are from the Quest Mall, the video is being shared in a misleading context. 


The video is being widely shared on Twitter with users asserting, “…slum dwellers from a specific community entered Air-conditioned ‘Quest Mall’ because temp outside was very high.They barged into the mall demanding that they be given permission to stay as the city of Kolkata is reeling at 43C.” Adding, “They also demanded free food at food plaza, and Eid gifts from shops. Owner of the mall Sanjeev Goenka is helpless as police has refused to lodge the FIR. (sic)”

Such tweets can be seen here, here and here.

Several other Twitter users shared the video with similar captions alleging that the members  of a “particular religion barged into the mall” as mercury rises across the city. Some even referred to people seen in the footage as “local peaceful.”

Such tweets can be seen here, here and here.

Also Read: Did Kolkata’s Presidency University Allow Iftar Party While It Cited Rules To Block Saraswati Puja?

Fact Check/Verification

A Google reverse image search on the keyframes of the viral footage along with the keyword “Quest Mall” led us to a report by The Telegraph, dated April 18, 2023, titled ‘Complaints of power cuts across Kolkata, CESC cites usage beyond sanctioned load.’

Carrying screengrabs of the viral clip, the report stated, “Stills from a video show residents of Radha Gobindo Saha Lane and Dilkhusha Street, where power supply was off from around 6pm on Sunday, in the neighbouring Quest Mall…The police said the residents from Dilkhusha Street and Radha Gobinda Saha Lane entered the shopping mall around 11pm on Sunday, complaining about the prolonged power cut.”

Screengrab from The Telegraph website

Following this, we translated keywords “Kolkata,” “power cut” & “Quest Mall” in Bengali with the help of Google, and looked up the same on YouTube. This yielded a video report by Aaj Tak Bangla, dated April 18, 2023, elaborating on the incident.

Radha Gobindo Saha Lane and Dilkhusha Street both are in Park Circus neighbourhood of Kolkata.

None of the reports mentioned that people who “barged” into the mall were from a particular religion, or they “demanded free food from Food Court, Eid free gift from Armani/Gucci etc stores.” Neither of the reports mention any scuffle between the people and mall authorities as well.

Notably, long spells of power cut in several areas of  Kolkata amid scorching heat forced the citizens in certain places to pour out in the streets and protest against the authorities earlier this week.

Also Read: Did RSS Issue Letter Instructing Hindu Men To Coax Muslim Women Into ‘Ghar Wapsi’?

Incident Falsely Presented, Mall Authorities File Complain

The Quest Mall management has filed a complaint with the Kolkata police over misrepresentation of the entire incident.

As per a Times Of India report, Mall Vice President Sanjeev Mehra said that a power cut in the neighbourhood had prompted some local youths to force their way into the mall around 11.30pm on Sunday when visitors’ entry had shut but customers were still there at the multiplex and restaurant. They were escorted out in presence of the police. 

Screengrab from Times Of India report

It further stated, “The following day, Mehra spoke to local leaders and said while the Sunday’s situation was a humanitarian one, entry into the facility after closing hours was undesirable. “ 

“The leaders agreed and said it would not be repeated, and that was that, till, a video of that night was circulated on Wednesday with a blatantly false and malicious claim that amounts to scaremongering,” Mehra was quoted as saying. 

He further clarified, “We would like to state that the mall did not face any such demand, nor was there any lack of cooperation from police when we had to finally shut the mall. The message is being falsely represented to stoke fear and hatred.”

In a Facebook post, dated April 20, 2023, Quest Mall also called out the “misleading narrative” and urged its “patrons to ignore these exaggerated and motivated narratives.”

Quest Mall
Screengrab from Facebook post by @questmallofficial

Conclusion

Viral post claiming that members of a particular religion barged into a mall in Kolkata to avoid scorching heat and demanded gifts for Eid is misleading. 

Result: Partly False

Sources
Report By The Telegraph, Dated April 18, 2023
YouTube Video By Aaj Tak Bangla, Dated April 18, 2023
Report By Times Of India, Dated April 20, 2023


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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.

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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