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Video Of Child Devotee Crying For His Father Amid Sabarimala Rush Goes Viral With Communal Spin

Authors

Kushel HM is a mechanical engineer-turned-journalist, who loves all things football, tennis and films. He was with the news desk at the Hindustan Times, Mumbai, before joining Newschecker.

Pankaj Menon is a fact-checker based out of Delhi who enjoys ‘digital sleuthing’ and calling out misinformation. He has completed his MA in International Relations from Madras University and has worked with organisations like NDTV, Times Now and Deccan Chronicle online in the past.

Claim
A Hindu child devotee is ill-treated at Sabarimala.

Fact
Video shows a child desperately searching for his father amid the huge rush at Sabarimala. The child is later reunited with his father.

Several social media users are sharing a video of a wailing child pilgrim aboard a bus at Sabarimala, claiming that Hindus are under attack in “left-ruled” Kerala and are being persecuted.

“They will show children from Gaza, they will show children from Syria, but they will not show how a Hindu child is being treated in India for following their religion,” read one such post on X.

The archived versions of the tweet can be seen here and here.

Also Read: Old Video Of TMC’s Mahua Moitra Being Dragged Out By Police Falsely Shared As Her Lok Sabha Expulsion

Fact Check

Newschecker noticed that the viral video was part of a news report by Malayalam TV channel, Asianet News, with the ticker stating that a young Ayyappa devotee was crying out for his father amid the huge rush at Nilakkal, a base camp of the Sabarimala temple. Twenty seven seconds into the report, the video notes that the child is reunited with his father, even as the police are seen consoling him.

We then ran a relevant keyword search, which led us to this Asianet Newsable report, dated December 12, 2023, stating that Sabarimala has witnessed a huge footfall of devotees for the last five days and the opposition continues to slam the Kerala government over the mismanagement of the crowd. According to the report, many of the pilgrims are returning without getting the darshan of Sabarimala temple and Lord Ayyappa due to the overwhelming rush.

 “Meanwhile, a video of a crying child who had lost his way in Sabarimala has surfaced. The footage shows that the child is searching for his father, who was lost in the crowd at Nilakkal. The child, who was screaming in front of the police with folded hands, finally waved his hands when he saw his father,” read the report, confirming that the video was being shared out of context.

Multiple reports, seen here and here, state that owing to the unprecedented heavy footfall this season, several devotees, including from AP, TN, Thrissur, Kozhikode and Malappuram, called off the trip to Sabarimala, and have returned home, while the chief minister has called for improved coordination and crowd management measures.

UPDATE ON 13/12/2023: Newschecker reached out to Travancore Dewaswom Board PRO Sunil Arumanoor, who said, “The video is actually of a boy who couldn’t find his father during the rush at Sabarimala. The timely intervention of the police ensured that the boy was reunited with the father. There is no lapse from the police or the officials.”

Also Read: Video Of Shivraj Singh Chouhan Tearing Up Over Losing Out On CM Post? No, Viral Clip Is Old

Conclusion

Video of a child briefly lost and searching for his father amid the huge rush at Sabarimala temple goes viral with a communal spin.

Result: Missing Context

Sources
Asianet Newsable report, December 12, 2023
Tweet, Asianet Newsable, December 12, 2023
(with inputs from Sabloo Thomas)


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Authors

Kushel HM is a mechanical engineer-turned-journalist, who loves all things football, tennis and films. He was with the news desk at the Hindustan Times, Mumbai, before joining Newschecker.

Pankaj Menon is a fact-checker based out of Delhi who enjoys ‘digital sleuthing’ and calling out misinformation. He has completed his MA in International Relations from Madras University and has worked with organisations like NDTV, Times Now and Deccan Chronicle online in the past.

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