A video of a march supposedly carried out in Alleppey, Kerala is viral with a claim that it shows Muslims protesting to the appointment of an IAS officer as a district collector because he is a Brahmin.
The video was shared by the Twitter page of the right-wing party Indu Makkal Katchi. The claim reads as, "In Allepy Kerala ystrday, Muslims opposing the new Brahmin IAS collector, took out a procession, MSM cunningly avoided this and highlighted ABVP in Karnataka. Listen to the slogans."
Several users shared the video with the same caption.
Images from the protest are also being circulated with similar claims.
Organiser Weekly, the mouthpiece of the right-wing organisation RSS, also shared the tweet but later deleted it. Click here to see the archive link.
BJP member Kapil Mishra alluded to the viral tweet but didn't mention any specifics.
The video is viral across Twitter and Facebook.
The Logical Indian Fact Check team verified the viral claim and found it to be false. The viral video is from Malappuram and presented out of context.
We used InVid's Keyframe Analysis Tool to isolate the video into keyframes. We then keenly observed the frames to geo-locate the video and identify where it was shot.
We identified three places in the video, one of which is a shop seen in the video named 'Beauty Spot'. On the signboard of the shop, 'UP-Hill Malappuram' is inscribed.
We then noticed two more storefronts in the video. We found that Sindhu Studio, one of the shops in the video, is located in 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 in close proximity, as can be seen here.
After geolocating the video, we conducted another keyword search with relevant keywords, 'muslim protests malapurram'. We came across this report by The New Indian Express published on 31 July 2022. The report's thumbnail carried an image of Muslim people participating in protests against an IAS officer, Sriram Venkitaraman.
The New Indian Express report notes that thousands of people from Muslim organisations participated in the protests organised by Kerala Muslim Jamaat. The protestors demanded action against the appointment of Sriram Venkitaraman as the Alleppey district collector. Venkitaraman is reportedly the main accused in the death of journalist KM Basheer.
We also came across a The Hindu report published on July 30, 2022. The report carried a thumbnail showing the protests as seen in the viral video.
The Hindu report noted that Muslim Jamaat district president Koottambara Abdurahman Darimi was the president of the function. District leaders Abdurazak Saqafi, P.M. Mustafa Kodur, C.K. Hasainar Saqafi, P. Saidalavi Chengara, and Basheer's brother K.M. Abdurahman spoke at the function. The protestors were demanding that the appointment of IAS officer Sriram Venkitaraman be revoked, as he was facing charges in the death of journalist K.M. Basheer in a drunk driving car accident three years ago.
We conducted a keyword search for the terms 'K.M. Basheer murder'. We came across this NewsMinute report published on August 3, 2020. As per the report, on August 3, 2019, Sriram Venkitaraman was returning from a party in the Kowdiar area.
Meanwhile, journalist K.M. Basheer who had parked his two-wheeler on the roadside near the Museum Junction in Thiruvananthapuram, was talking on the phone when a car being driven at a speed of 98 kilometres per hour rammed into his vehicle. The NewsMinute report says, "There were allegations that police had extended all support to save the IAS officer from the case." The IAS officer's blood samples were sent for testing for alcohol only after over eight hours. The charge sheet in the case was filed after six months, reportedly.
Venkitaraman returned to the service in 2020, seven months after his suspension, even as the move was heavily criticised. As per reports, the government clarified that Sriram's public health awareness would be useful during COVID-19.
In our Fact Check, we found that the Muslim Jamaat was not the only organisation to take our protests against the appointment of Sriram Venkitaraman as Alleppey collector.
As per this Onmanorama report published on July 26, 2022, Youth Congress activists protested against his appointment by waving black flags at Venkitaraman as his car entered the collectorate premises.
As per a The Hindu report published on July 25, 2022, the Congress held a dharna in front of the District Collectorate to protest the appointment of Sriram Venkitaraman as well.
In a series of follow-up articles, The Hindu and New Indian Express also reported that the Kerala government removed Sriram Venkitaraman from the post of Alleppey district collector. He has been appointed as general manager of Kerala State Civil Supplies Corporation.
In our Fact Check, we found that the video is actually from Malappuram, Kerala. The protest march seen in the video is organised by the Muslim Jamaat to protest against the appointment of IAS officer Sriram Venkitaraman as the Alleppey district collector.
Venkitaraman is the main accused in the death of journalist KM Basheer, which took place in August 2019. Despite allegations of misconduct by the police in the investigation, Sriram was eventually appointed as District Collectorate in Alleppey. The protests, by several parties and organisations, including Muslim Jamaat, were to object to his appointment. Thus, we can conclude that the protest march has been portrayed in a misleading manner with a false communal spin.
If you have any news that you believe needs to be fact-checked, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or WhatsApp at 6364000343.
Also Read: BJP MP Nishikant Dubey Falsely Claims That No Farmers Died By Suicide Since BJP Came To Power At Centre