A video of Priyank Kharge, serving as a cabinet minister in the Karnataka government ruled by the Indian National Congress (INC), is doing rounds on social media. In the 30-second-long clip, Kharge can be heard addressing a meeting in the backdrop of Eid al-Adha in the Kannada language. The clip is viral, accusing Kharge of abusing his power and promoting illegal cow slaughter.
BJP Karnataka shared the video on Twitter with the caption, "Article 48 of the Indian Constitution clearly prohibits the slaughter of animals, particularly in public spaces. However, @PriyankKharge is abusing his power by not only promoting illegal cow slaughter but also pressuring police officials to arrest anyone who opposes it. The self-proclaimed Constitution expert @siddaramaiah should explain whether this violates Baba Saheb's Indian Constitution or not. If not, both needs to be educated on the Indian Constitution."
This Twitter post shared on June 25 has garnered more than 2.7M views with over 11K likes and around 5.5k retweets.
Vishnu Vardhan Reddy, the state general secretary of BJP Andhra Pradesh, shared the clip on Twitter with the caption, "Karnataka is already in an undeclared emergency. Just take a look at the words of Congress minister Mr @PriyankKharge, who is threatening people by saying, 'If you try to save cows, we'll put you in jail.' This is the real anti-hindu face of Congress. Previously, they were concealing their anti-Hindu stance, but now they are openly revealing it after winning the election."
Priti Gandhi, often involved in sharing fake news, also shared the video with the caption, "If anyone comes to rescue Cows during Bakrid and do moral policing, Kick them and throw them in Jail": Priyank Kharge. Every Hindu who voted for the Congress in Karnataka should hang their heads in shame!!"
The clip is viral on Twitter and Facebook, with the same narration.
Priyank Kharge is supporting cow vigilantism and promoting illegal cow slaughter in Karnataka.
The Logical Indian fact-check team verified the claim and found it was misinterpreted and shared out of context. Priyank Kharge spoke against cow vigilantes and the importance of following the law in the more extended version of the viral clip.
With the help of a language expert, we translated the viral clip from Kannada to English. In the clip, he says, "See, Bakri Eid is approaching. As per the law (all PSIs and DSPs, Circle Inspector, please pay attention)... these people, doing cow vigilantism, claiming we are from this group, that group, they are unaware of how much the farmers are struggling. If someone wears a shawl and claims we are from this group or organization or if they take the law into their own hands, kick them and put them behind bars."
In the viral video, we noticed a logo on the right-hand side corner and the watermark of News First, a Kannada News Channel. Taking a hint from here, we looked for the more extended version of the viral clip on their channel.
The video was published on their YouTube channel on June 20 with the original title reading, "Priyank Kharge Warning : ಒದ್ದು ಒಳಗಾಕ್ರೀ ಅವ್ರನ್ನ, ಖರ್ಗೆ ಖಡಕ್ ವಾರ್ನಿಂಗ್!| Meeting With Officers". The starting 30 seconds of the original video are precisely like the viral clip, which cuts off at the 0:31 time stamp, following which Kharge adds more context to his preceding statement.
We translated Kharge's remaining statement from Kannada to English. He said, "The law is apparent. All livestock transportation, whether within city boundaries or rural zones, if they have permission & documents, stop the harassment. Will you sit in the police station after giving your work to them (cow vigilantes)? This new harassment was started during the last government. Previously in Gulbarga, these guys visited homes; they picked up farmers' animals. Act according to the law. If anybody takes the law into their own hands, strict action should be taken against them. If anybody is illegally smuggling animals, be it livestock or other animals, put them behind bars. There is no denying it. But even after having all permissions, if someone is harassed, you ask them who they (cow Vigilante goons) are to ask."
Further, we found that the cabinet minister responded to the viral claim and stated how his address was misinterpreted and taken out of context. He retweeted BJP Karnataka's tweet and wrote, "Dear @BJP4Karnataka, time to fire your agency who is handling the party's twitter handle . Clearly they don't understand Kannada, forget understanding the Constitution. Is BJP suggesting cow vigilantism is legal & the vigilantes of any kind should be encouraged to break the law? Try it my friends, Govt of Karnataka will show you the power of Constitution."
Priyank Kharge, the Karnataka Rural Development, and Panchayat Raj Minister, addressed a meeting on June 22 that included several law enforcement officers where he emphasized strict laws to curb cow vigilantism in the Kalaburagi district. However, part of his speech was shared out of context to misinterpret that he supports cow vigilantism and promotes illegal cow slaughter in Karnataka.
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