Scripted video shared as Christians extorting money for Christmas celebrations in Kerala

By: Vivek J
January 4 2024

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Scripted video shared as Christians extorting money for Christmas celebrations in Kerala

Screenshots of the posts with a viral video purporting to show people extorting money in Kerala in the pretext of Christmas celebrations. (Source: X/Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)


The Verdict False

The video’s creator has clarified that the video is scripted and was created by a group of friends.

Claim ID 53512e45

What is the claim?

A video is being widely shared on X (formerly Twitter) with a claim that a car driver was assaulted in Kerala for refusing to donate money for Christmas celebrations. Various individuals, including Anoop Antony Joseph, Kerala BJP’s youth wing National General Secretary, shared this video. Joseph's post was shared with the caption: “Christmas spirit choked by extortion rackets fostered by Kerala's Left ecosystem. High on drugs and alchohol, goons are forcefully extorting money in the name of Christmas donation! Kerala turned into a hub of drugs by the Left, holding the youth captive for their political interests (archived here)."

Archived versions of posts containing the same video with similar narratives can be accessed here, here, and here.

Screenshots of the viral posts. (Source: X/Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)

The video, in Malayalam, depicted a group of men yelling at a car's driver, pressuring him to pay money, then pulling him out and holding him down. Some onlookers discouraged the filming of the incident. Later, the driver can be heard saying, “Can’t you people collect money from the locals? Am I not supposed to pass through this place?”

However, we found that this video does not depict a real incident.

What did we find?

A reverse image search of keyframes from the video led us to a longer version of the viral clip, which was first uploaded on a Facebook page named “തനിനാടൻ” (Thani Naadan). This video has similar visuals and audio as the viral clip. Its description, translated from Malayalam to English, reads, “Statewide collection! The incident happened to a young man who was traveling with his family from Kadakkal to Kulathupuzha at a place called Onthupacha (sic.)” The description (as seen in the image below) lists the names of individuals involved in its making, indicating that this was a scripted video. 

Screenshot of the Facebook shorts shared by Thani Naadan along with its description in Malayalam. (Source: Facebook/തനിനാടൻ/Screenshot)

Taking cues from the description of this video, we performed a Google search using keywords in Malayalam. This led us to another Facebook post containing the video, that was uploaded by Sujith Ramachandran on December 26, 2023, one of the individuals named in the earlier video's description. Ramachandran's video had the same description as the Facebook short video shared by the other Malayalam page, and it included a disclaimer: “Created video for awareness purpose.”

On Ramachandran’s page, another video from December 27, 2023, clarified the situation. He explained, “Hello, I believe you all are familiar with us. For the past few days, a video of a group asking for money donations assaulting a car passenger has gone viral. We are the ones who acted in that video... We had added that video to our profile with proper disclaimers that it was a prank and that it was created by us..."

Ramachandran also mentioned that their videos were misinterpreted when shared on various platforms. He also said that the group had created another video about farmers that had also gone viral. Logically Facts reached out to Ramachandran for a comment and the fact-check will be updated with his response when available.

The verdict

A scripted video has been shared with multiple narratives claiming to show extortion of passersby in Kerala in the name of Christmas celebrations. However, the video’s creator has clarified that it was scripted and that the clip has been misinterpreted on various platforms. Therefore, we have marked this claim as false.

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Global Fact-Checks Completed

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