By: Chandan Borgohain
May 16 2023
This video has been available on the internet since September 2022 and is from PM Narendra Modi's roadshow in Surat.
Since April 2023, Indian wrestlers have been protesting against the alleged lack of action against Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) President Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh over allegations of sexual harassment by female wrestlers. The protesting wrestlers have warned that they will take out a "big call" if their demand for Singh's arrest is not met before May 21, PTI reported. The report added that the wrestlers have decided to approach their international counterparts in support for their support. Amid this, some unrelated photos and videos are circulating on social media in connection with the ongoing protest.
A video has been recently shared on social media claiming that it shows a public rally in support of the wrestlers' protest. The video captures a bird's eye view of a large crowd of people on a road. A user who shared the video on Twitter wrote, "Support from all over India." Another user wrote, “Desha ka Maan sanmaan sadko par ho to Support toh banti hai. Wrestlers got support from all over India." Indian wrestler Sakshi Malik shared the same video with a similar claim. "Support from all over India #wrestlersprotest #istandwithmychampions," she wrote in a viral tweet. However, her widely viewed and shared tweet was later taken down.
Logically Facts found out the video is old and is falsely linked to the ongoing wrestlers' protest.
In an archived version of Malik's tweet, we were able to view the comments section, where a user had added an old tweet. The tweet carried a slightly longer version of the same video claiming that it shows an OBC rally in Jaipur in Rajasthan. However, in the comments of that video, several pointed out that the video was not from Rajasthan, and one said that it was actually from Surat.
Taking a cue from this, we carried out a reverse image search on one of the screenshots of the video, which led us to a YouTube short uploaded on September 30, 2022. The text overlaid on the video, and the title states it was captured at Nilgiri Circle during PM Modi's roadshow in Surat.
Further, we noticed a statue of a figure on a horse in the middle of the area where the large crowd had gathered. We used Google Street View and found a perfect match for the area seen in the video in Surat's Rustam Bagh area, near the Nilgiri Circle. We also noted the same statue in the center of the circle, clear now as belonging to Rani Laxmibai.
We also came across a video by a YouTube account called 'Surat'sIndian vlogger reeteeshraj', uploaded on September 28, 2022. This video captures the preparation in Surat ahead of PM Modi's rally in September and shows visuals of a decorated Nilgiri Circle. At the 2:28 timestamp, the vlogger captures the same statue of Rani Laxmibai, the saffron flags, and the BJP's flags seen in the viral video. In the same video, beginning at the 2:40 timestamp, we can see a line of tall saffron flags hoisted on the site of the road, leading off from the circle. In the viral video too, this line of flags is visible 0:14 mark, beginning on the left of the statue.
We also noticed a poster of Modi visible to the right of the circle, a visual unlikely to be seen at the wrestlers' protest. A video of PM Modi's visit to Surat and his roadshow is also available on his YouTube channel. This further proves that there was a public rally in Surat on September 29, and huge crowds gathered on the streets. We can also see saffron flags, posters of PM Modi, and BJP flags in that video.
We also found another video uploaded by a YouTube channel called "MY Surat," which stated that PM Modi addressed the gathering at Nilgiri Ground Limbayat on September 29, 2022. The Indian Express reported on September 24, 2022, that the Prime Minister would inaugurate and lay the foundation stones of several development projects worth Rs 3,400 crore in Surat on September 29. The report added that municipal corporation officials, police officers, and district administration officials monitored the preparations for the PM's visit at Nilgiri ground in the Limbayat area of Surat.
The viral video doesn't show a public rally in support of the ongoing wrestlers' protest. This video has been available online since September 2022 and shows Prime Minister Narendra Modi's roadshow in Surat on September 29, 2022. Google Street View confirms that the location of the video is Nilgiri Circle in Surat. Therefore, we have marked this claim false.