A video of a march allegedly conducted in Alleppey, Kerala is going viral with a claim that it shows Muslims protesting the appointment of an IAS officer as district collector because he is a Brahmin.
The video was shared by the right-wing Indu Makkal Katchi party’s Twitter page. The claim reads: “In Allepy Kerala yesterday Muslims opposed to the new Brahmin Collector IAS staged a procession, MSM slyly avoided this and highlighted the ABVP in Karnataka. Listen to the slogans.”
Several users shared the video with the same caption.
Footage of the protest is also being released with similar demands.
Organizer Weekly, the spokesperson for the right-wing organization RSS, also shared the tweet but later deleted it. Click on here to see the archive link.
BJP member Kapil Mishra hinted at the viral tweet but did not mention any details.
The Logical Indian Fact Check team verified the virus claim and found it to be false. The viral video is from Malappuram and is presented out of context.
We used InVid’s keyframe analysis tool to isolate the video to keyframes. We then carefully observed the footage to geotag the video and identify where it was shot.
We have identified three locations in the video, one of which is a shop seen in the video named “Beauty Spot”. The store sign reads ‘UP-Hill Malappuram’.
We then noticed two other showcases in the video. We found that Sindhu Studio, one of the video stores, is located at Up Hill, Malappuram, Kerala. We noticed that the same shop logo is also on Google.
We noticed that a store named ‘Poly Dental Clinic’ can also be seen in the video. After a keyword search, we were able to geo-locate the shop on Up Hill, Malappuram, Kerala. These stores are nearby, as can be seen here.
After geotagging the video, we did another keyword search with relevant keywords, ‘muslim protests malapurram’. We came across this report from the New Indian Express published on July 31, 2022. The report’s thumbnail featured an image of Muslims participating in protests against an IAS officer, Sriram Venkitaraman.
The New Indian Express report notes that thousands of people from Muslim organizations participated in the protests organized by the Kerala Muslim Jamaat. The protesters demanded action against the appointment of Sriram Venkitaraman as Alleppey District Collector. Venkitaraman is said to be the main accused in the death of journalist KM Basheer.
We also came across a The Hindu report published July 30, 2022. The report contained a thumbnail showing the protests as seen in the viral video.
The Hindu report noted that the chairman of the Muslim Jamaat district, Koottambara Abdurahman Darimi, was the chairman of the function. District Chiefs Abdurazak Saqafi, Prime Minister Mustafa Kodur, CK Hasainar Saqafi, P. Saidalavi Chengara and Basheer’s brother KM Abdurahman addressed the ceremony. Protesters were demanding that the appointment of IAS officer Sriram Venkitaraman be revoked as he faced charges in the death of journalist KM Basheer in a drunk-driving car accident three years ago .
We did a keyword search for the terms “murder of KM Basheer”. We came across this report from NewsMinute published on August 3, 2020. According to the report, on August 3, 2019, Sriram Venkitaraman was returning from a party in Kowdiar area.
Meanwhile, journalist KM Basheer who had parked his two-wheeler on the side of the road near Museum Junction in Thiruvananthapuram, was talking on the phone when a car traveling at a speed of 98 kilometers per hour rammed his vehicle . The NewsMinute report says: ‘There were allegations that the police had extended their full support to save the IAS officer from the case.’ The IAS agent’s blood samples were only sent for alcohol testing after more than eight hours. The indictment in the case was filed after six months, it seems.
Venkitaraman returned to service in 2020, seven months after his suspension, even as the move was heavily criticized. According to reports, the government has clarified that Sriram’s public health outreach will be helpful during COVID-19.
In our fact check, we found that the Muslim Jamaat was not the only organization to take our protests against the appointment of Sriram Venkitaraman as collector of Alleppey.
According to this Onmanorama reportt posted on July 26, 2022, Youth Congress activists protested his nomination by waving black flags at Venkitaraman as his car drove into the collector’s premises.
According to a The Hindu report released on July 25, 2022, Congress held a dharna in front of the District Collectorate to also protest the nomination of Sriram Venkitaraman.
In a series of follow-up articles, The Hindu and New Indian Express also reported that the Kerala government had removed Sriram Venkitaraman from the position of Alleppey District Collector. He was appointed Managing Director of Kerala State Civil Supplies Corporation.
In our fact check, we found out that the video actually came from Malappuram, Kerala. The protest march seen in the video is organized by the Muslim Jamaat to protest against the appointment of IAS officer Sriram Venkitaraman as Alleppey District Collector.
Venkitaraman is the main defendant in the death of journalist KM Basheer, which occurred in August 2019. Despite allegations of police misconduct in the investigation, Sriram was eventually appointed as District Collector in Alleppey. Protests from several parties and organizations, including the Muslim Jamaat, were to oppose his appointment. Thus, we can conclude that the protest march was misrepresented with a false communal twist.
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