By: Rohith Gutta
May 9 2023
An old video from Telangana, where protesters replaced the Ashok Chakra on the tricolor with an Islamic verse, is being circulated with a false claim.
Various claims have surfaced since the release of the multilingual film, ‘The Kerala Story’ which claims to tell the stories of Hindu women in Kerala forcibly converted to Islam to be inducted into the terror outfit ISIS. The women are allegedly victims of 'love jihad,' a right wing conspiracy theory that says Muslim men entrap Hindu women in order to marry them and convert them to Islam. The movie has generated a lot of controversy.
A Twitter user named ‘Rajinikumari21’ tweeted a video on May 7, 2023, with the text, "Protest against The Kerala story. Jihadis removed the Ashok Chakra from the tricolor and waved it as a kalma in a Muslim procession in Mahbubnagar, Telangana. Wait for the population to be 40%, then this thing will become common." The tweet has 47,900 views and more than 3,300 retweets.
The video shows a clip of protesters carrying a tricolor flag of saffron, white and green, with an Islamic kalima or phrase added in the middle. The video has a voice over with a photo of news anchor Sudhir Chaudhary, an image taken from his erstwhile DNA show, perhaps to give the impression that he was reading the text. The voice over says that today in Telangana, Muslim protesters have replaced the Ashok Chakra with kalima. Another Twitter user named ‘Nishant Gourav Sanatani’ shared the same clip with the exact text as in the tweet mentioned above, linking the protests to those against the release of the movie
However, this video is not of people protesting the movie. It is an old video from Telangana.
Logically Facts found that while the video and the incident are authentic, the video is from 2022, and is not recent. The terms ‘Mahabubnagar,’ ‘Muslims,’ and ‘national flag’ yielded the same video on multiple news channels. The Economic Times reported on the video on June 10, 2022, with the headline, "Prophet remarks row: Protesters replace Ashok Chakra on national flag with a religious verse, in Telangana."
Similarly, India TV News and Times of India reported the same video on June 10, 2022. The incident took place when people staged protests in Mahabubnagar town in Telangana against Bharatoya Janata Party spokesperson Nupur Sharma's alleged offensive comments on Prophet Mohammed. The protest was carried out outside the Masjid-e-Rahmath in Pan Chourastha in Mahabubnagar.
In the video, one can see images of various commercial establishments such as Manappuram Gold Loan, Kachhi Textiles, etc. A Google street view of Masjid-E-Rahmath confirms these establishments. There has been no protest in Mahabubnagar against ‘The Kerala Story’ recently.
Additionally, one can see in the video an image of Choudhary as if he was reading the text on his former show on Zee News. However, Chaudhary left Zee News to join Aaj Tak in June 2022, which also shows that this video is dated.
While the video is authentic and the Ashoka Chakra was replaced with a kalima, the video is from June 2022 in Mahabubnagar, Telangana. It is not a video of Muslims protesting The Kerala Story. Therefore, we have marked this claim as false.