By: Mohammad Salman
September 22 2023
Screenshots of viral video. (Source: X/Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)
The video shared to make the false claim shows the CEO of a non-profit, and not a Canadian government official, only making a demand for such a move.
Tensions between India and Canada have escalated after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Indian agencies were potentially involved in the murder of separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar in British Columbia province in June. India rejected the allegation and called it absurd. Prompted by Canada's expulsion of an Indian diplomat in light of the allegations, India also expelled a senior Canadian diplomat and indefinitely suspended visa services for Canadian citizens.
Amid the ongoing diplomatic rift, a video is going viral on social media with the claim that the Canadian government has banned Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a Hindu nationalist outfit and the parent organization of India's reigning Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). In the video going viral, a man is seen presenting his case for four points of action, the last of which demands an immediate ban on RSS and removal of its agents from Canada under the provisions listed in the country's criminal code.
While sharing this video on X (formerly Twitter) and Facebook, social media users have claimed that the Canadian government has issued an order to ban RSS with immediate effect and the agents of the organization to leave Canada (see archive versions here, here, here, here and here).
Screenshot of viral posts. (Source: X, Facebook/Screenshots/Modified by Logically Facts)
However, the Canadian government has not issued any such order. The person seen in the video is not a government official but a member of a non-profit.
What are the facts?
In the video, the man is 'demanding' a ban on RSS and not making an announcement or pronouncing any order to the effect. The person also mentions that the call for a ban on the RSS in Canada, one of four demands made in the video, was made jointly by 'NCCM' and 'WSO.'
The viral video carries the watermark '@nccmuslims,' and taking a cue from this, we came across the TikTok account of the same name and found the account had shared the viral video on September 20. According to the video description, NCCM CEO Stephen Brown made a joint statement with the World Sikh Organization of Canada (WSO) to "call for clear actions by our (Canadian) government in response to the alleged assassination of Hardeep Singh Nijjar by agents of the Government of India." NCCM refers to the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM), an independent, non-partisan and non-profit organization based in Canada.
Screenshot of original video shared on TikTok. (Source: TikTok/Screenshot)
We also found that NCCM had shared the same video or its extended versions on its social media accounts on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and X (formerly Twitter) with the same description. However, its X account is banned in India.
The longer version of the video, shared on Instagram on September 19, started with the man identifying himself as Stephen Brown, the CEO of the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM). Brown presents a list of demands to the Canadian government on India's alleged involvement in the death of separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar. In his statement. Brown further said that the joint report of the WSO and NCCM had revealed that domestically, Canadian Muslims have faced harassment by the RSS.
Instagram video caption mention that the NCCM and WSO are only demanding a ban on the RSS.(Source: Instagram/Screenshot)
The statement further said that the violence against Canadian citizens is something that minorities in India have to face every day. Brown described it as a deliberate act of violence by a foreign government on Canadian soil, and called upon the Canadian government to take appropriate action. His statement going viral on social media can be heard around the 5:07 mark in the Instagram video. The four demands NCCM made in partnership with World Sikh Organization of Canada (WSO) are:
Immediate recall of Canada's ambassador to India.
Expulsion of Indian Ambassador to Canada.
Putting a formal halt on trade talks between India.
Call for immediate ban on RSS and removal of its agents from Canada under the provisions listed in the Criminal Code.
These four demands have also been shared on NCCM's Facebook page.
Demands put forward by NCCM and WSO to the Government of Canada. (Source: Facebook/Screenshot)
In a report published on September 19, Al Jazeera reported that Mukhbir Singh, president of the WSO, and NCCM CEO Stephen Brown had attended a press conference at the House of Commons in Ottawa where their orgnizations had "called on the government to do more to prevent potential threats against their communities."
Logically Facts has reached out to NCCM to get details on this entire matter. This story will be updated if and when we receive a response.
We also reviewed local and international media reports during our investigation but found no reports confirming that the Canadian government had banned RSS.
The claim that the Canadian government has banned RSS is false because Canada has not issued such an order. The person seen in the viral video is not a Canadian official but the CEO of a non-profit organization named NCCM. Therefore, we mark the viral claim false.
(Translated by Rajini KG)