By: Ishita Goel
September 26 2023
A X post claiming that a Gujarati man has been threatened in Canada. (Source: X/Facebook/Screenshot)
A video from Southall, U.K., showing a pro-Khalistan individual threatening a man is being shared as a recent incident in Canada.
The relationship between India and Canada has been strained since Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, in a speech on September 18 in the Canadian Parliament, said authorities were investigating "credible allegations" regarding India's involvement in the death of Sikh separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar, who was shot dead in Surrey, British Columbia, on June 18.
Following this, anti-India and pro-Khalistan protests were seen. On September 25, protesters in Ottawa gathered in front of the Indian High Commissioner's office and waved yellow flags with Khalistan written on them. Similarly, in Toronto, protesters burned an Indian flag and threw a shoe at a cardboard cut-out of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi with a shoe.
What is the claim?
Against this backdrop, old and unrelated videos are circulating on social media with false links to the present situation.
A viral video shows a man in a turban carrying a yellow flag bearing the word Khalistan threatening another man in Punjabi. The video has been shared alleging that this is from Canada, following heightened tensions. An X user posted the video with the caption, "Open threats to Indian Gujaratis on the streets of Canada."
Screenshot of viral posts making the false claim. (Source: X/Facebook/Screenshot)
What is happening in the video?
Through a reverse image search, we found the video dates back to at least March 2023.
We found a longer version of the video on the YouTube channel of Oneindia News, published on March 23, 2023, with the caption, "Watch: Khalistani supporters threaten a Gujarati man in Southall."
We also found that The Times of India had published a video news report on the footage on March 24, 2023, with the headline, "Viral video from abroad shows Khalistani goons heckling, hurling abuses at Gujarati man." The report spoke about a Gujarati man being harassed abroad, adding, "The goons first heckle and then hurl abuses at the Gujarati man, threatening that they will attack all Gujaratis even in Gujarat."
Screenshot of Oneindia News and Times of India videos (Source: OneIndia (L)/The Times of India (R)/ Screenshot)
Similarly, Gujarat-based local news website Our Vadodara posted a clearer and longer version of the viral video on their Facebook page on March 22.
Where did the incident take place?
Taking clues from the video posted by Our Vadodara, at the 0:41 timestamp, we noted the words 'Gurdwara' on a yellow board in the background.
On searching for gurudwaras in Southall, a suburban town in West London, we found an image published by Sri Guru Singh Sabha Southall (SGSSS) on their website, matching our requirements. Locating it on Google Maps, we found a street view added in August 2022. This allowed us to compare the yellow board at the 0:41 timestamp and the blue hoarding on a building across the street at 0:44 and find exact matches.
Comparison of Our Vadodara video frames to Google Street View (Source: Facebook/Google Maps/ Screenshots/ Modified by Logically Facts)
Similarly, we could match the gurdwara building’s windows to those in the viral video.
Comparison of Google Street view frames to viral video (Source: Google Maps/X/ Screenshots/ Modified by Logically Facts
It is clear that the incident took place outside the premises of the Gurdwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha, located on Park Avenue in Southall, West London, contrary to claims that it happened in Canada.
An old incident from the U.K. dating back to March 2023 is being shared with the false claim that it shows an incident amid heightened tensions between India and Canada.