Video of crying child shared to falsely claim Kerala government is harassing Sabarimala devotees

By: Umme Kulsum
December 13 2023

Share Article: facebook logo twitter logo linkedin logo
Video of crying child shared to falsely claim Kerala government is harassing Sabarimala devotees

Screenshot of viral posts implying a child was detained during alleged police action on Sabarimala devotees. (Source: X/Modified by Logically Facts)


The Verdict False

The video shows a wailing child looking for his father after losing him during the Sabarimala pilgrimage. The child was not detained by the police.

Claim ID 84bb9308

The annual pilgrimage season for the Sabarimala Lord Ayyappa temple, a prominent Hindu temple located in the south Indian state of Kerala, kicked off this year on November 17 and will go on till December 26. 

What is the claim?

As lakhs of devotees continue to visit the temple for the pilgrimage, a video of a child wailing inside a vehicle is circulating on social media with claims implying that the Kerala government has been cracking down on worshippers heading to Sabarimala. 

Several right-wing users shared the video with the claim that the Kerala government, led by the Communist Party of India (Marxist), is 'mistreating Hindus' in the state. X (formerly Twitter) user' Mr Sinha (@MrSinha_)' shared this video (archived here) with the caption, "Condition of Hindus in Kerala. They didn't even spare a kid…#sabrimala" Sharing the video (archived here), another X user, Rishi Bagree, wrote, "Plight of Hindus in Kerala where the govt authorities cracked down on Devotees. They didn't even spare children." Both users have a history of sharing false and misleading claims. 

Other users, including Bharatiya Janata Party's Andhra Pradesh co-incharge Sunil Deodhar, also shared this video in a post on X. Archived versions of his post and similar others can be viewed here and here.

Screenshot of false claims made online. (Source: X/Modified by Logically Facts)

However, the video has been shared with a false communal narrative. 

What did we find?

The viral clip carries the logo of Malayalam TV channel Asianet News, which shared a video report with the same visuals on X on December 12. The post was captioned, "Sabarimala rush: Heart-wrenching video of crying child seeking help to find his father emerges; WATCH." The video shows the boy crying 'Appa, appa' (which means father) and folding his hands. A police officer standing outside the vehicle can also be seen trying to comfort the crying child.

A news report published by Asianet News, which carried screenshots from the viral clip, stated that the video showed a child who got lost in the crowd at Nilakkal, which is a base camp for pilgrims before they trek up to the Sabarimala temple located atop a hill. Published on December 12, the Asianet report carried the same video the outlet had shared on X. "The child, who was screaming in front of the police with folded hands, finally waved his hands when he saw his father," the report said.

Screenshot of the Asianet News X post. The viral clip and the Asianet video report show the vehicle's registration number and a logo.  (Source: Screenshot/X/AsianetNewsEN)

Logically Facts reached out to Kerala Police to confirm the details mentioned in the Asianet report. Denying the viral claim, Mahesh Kumar S, station house officer (SHO) at Pampa police station, said, "This incident (captured in the viral clip) occurred at the Nilakkal base camp. Nilakkal serves as the boarding point for Sabarimala. The boy's father couldn't board the bus, and the child was wailing while looking for his father."

Pramod Kumar, Kerala Police' Public Relations Officer (PRO), also debunked the communal narrative accompanying the viral clip. Kumar said to Logically Facts, "To manage the large crowds, authorities had restricted the number of passenger buses operating on the Nilakkal-Pamba route, which is commonly used by pilgrims visiting the Sabarimala temple. The little boy got separated from his father due to a heavy rush, but they were later reunited within minutes. "

To confirm that the video was from Kerala, we checked the details for the vehicle registration code 'KL-15', which is visible in the viral clip and Asianet News's video report. According to news outlet OnManorama, the code 'KL-15' has been set aside for government-run buses in Kerala. The vehicle also carried a logo on it, and a reverse image search showed us that it is the logo of the Kerala State Transport Corporation, which runs special buses to ferry devotees to Nilakkal for the pilgrimage. This information can also be found on the official website of the Sabarimala temple.

A comparison of the logo seen on the bus with the logo of  Kerala State Transport Corporation. (Source: Screenshot/X/

The verdict

A video of a lost child crying for his father during the Sabarimala pilgrimage in Kerala has been shared with false claims that the Kerala police detained the boy and the state government is harassing devotees. Therefore, we mark this claim as false.

(The story has been updated with the names of the police personnel)

Would you like to submit a claim to fact-check or contact our editorial team?

Global Fact-Checks Completed

We rely on information to make meaningful decisions that affect our lives, but the nature of the internet means that misinformation reaches more people faster than ever before