Video of men taking respite from the heat at a Kolkata mall falsely shared with communal spin

By: Chandan Borgohain
April 24 2023

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Video of men taking respite from the heat at a Kolkata mall falsely shared with communal spin


The Verdict False

Quest Mall clarified that the incident was falsely represented and urged the public to not believe in the misleading and motivated narratives.

Claim ID 167140a4


Kolkata has been reeling under sweltering heat for the past few days. On April 20, the city experienced a maximum of 40.6 degrees celsius temperature. 

A video showing a group of men sitting and lying on the floor of a shopping mall has been circulating on social media platforms with a false narrative. Those sharing the video claim that local Muslims barged into the Quest Mall in Kolkata's Park Circus area, demanding shelter from the severe heatwave. Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and national convener of the party’s IT cell Amit Malviya shared the video from his personal Twitter account on April 20. Malviya claimed that the locals barged into the mall and the mall management could not do anything, while the police did not cooperate. The video was also shared by a verified Twitter account (@vishnuguptuvach), claiming that the incident took place on April 19 and the group demanded free food and free Eid gifts from stores. The video has also been circulating on Facebook and Koo.

In Fact

On doing an advanced Twitter search with relevant keywords, we found that the video has been on the platform since April 17. A reverse image search on one of the screenshots of the viral video led us to a report published on a local news channel. According to the report, locals from Park Circus and Jadavpur had thronged to the mall to escape from the scorching heat after hours of intermittent power cuts in the greater area. The report did not suggest that the people gathered inside the mall are only Muslims. 

A report by The Telegraph carrying screenshots from a video stated the incident took place on the night of April 16. It also added that the crowd was “forced out” by the police after midnight. According to the report, local residents facing hours of power cuts took shelter in the neighboring Quest Mall. However, the report nowhere mentions that the crowd demanded food and Eid gifts from the stores as claimed on social media. It said that several parts of Kolkata had experienced long spells of load shedding amid terrible heat on Sunday night and Monday morning.

The Times of India published a report on April 20 saying that Quest Mall management lodged a complaint with the Kolkata Police cyber crime cell on Wednesday against the “deliberate misrepresentation” of the incident. Mall vice-president Sanjeev Mehra said that some local youths made their way into the mall around 11.30 p.m. on Sunday after visitor’s entry had shut but customers were still present at the multiplex and restaurants. "The youths wanted to hang out inside the AC mall as there was no power in their home,” TOI reported. However, police were able to escort them out an hour later when the mall finally shut. The report quotes Mehra saying, “We would like to state that the mall did not face any such demand, nor was there any lack of cooperation from police when we had to finally shut the mall. The message is being falsely represented to stoke fear and hatred”, Mehra said.

On their official Facebook page, The Quest Mall issued a statement on Thursday where it urged the public to ignore such “exaggerated and motivated narratives.” The post reads, “there is a misleading narrative floating around about Quest Mall on WhatsApp and Social Media. We urge our patrons to ignore these exaggerated and motivated narratives.”

The Verdict

The Quest Mall management has clarified that the incident was falsely represented and people who gathered inside the mall did not ask for free food and Eid gifts. The mall has also lodged a police complaint against the misleading representation of the incident. Therefore, we have marked this claim as false.

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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