By: Rahul Adhikari
August 11 2023
A video of Annamalai addressing army personnel was shared without context.
A video has been circulating on social media with the claim that it shows Tamil Nadu Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader K Annamalai encouraging people to opt for gun violence. The ten-second viral clip shows Annamalai delivering a speech in Tamil, saying, "If you possess a gun with bullets, and if Modi orders you to shoot, then go ahead, shoot, and approach us. The BJP will take care of you." Numerous users shared this video on X (formerly known as Twitter).
The accompanying caption of one such post read, "Listen to Tamil Nadu’s BJP President. He’s saying to ex servicemen that You have Guns and Bullets. "You have MODI’S PERMISSION TO FIRE at will. TN BJP WILL SAVE YOU." This is the kind of Politics they do. Brainwash common man to do violence. @mkstalin Please take note.” This post has gained over 90,000 views and 1,063 likes.
Several users shared the video on Facebook claiming that Annamalai is promoting gun violence and calling on people to "just shoot."
However, the claim is false. Annamalai’s remarks, addressed towards army personnel at the borders, were shared out of context.
We reviewed the comment section of the post with the viral video and found that one user pointed out that the viral video lacks context. The same user added a two-minute-long version of the video providing more context.
We found Annamalai made this remark at a rally held to condemn the murder of an army personnel in Tamil Nadu in February 2023 and it was part of a longer speech that he delivered at the rally. According to a report by The Hindu, a Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam party (DMK) councillor from Krishnagiri district was arrested for the murder of a 29-year-old army personnel. The BJP held a one-day hunger strike and candle march on February 21, and this is where Annamalai made the now-viral comment.
A longer five-minute-long video of the full speech was uploaded on a YouTube channel named Tnnews24 Digital on February 21. In the clip the BJP leader was speaking from a podium with a placard on it that read, "Army soldier killed. Bharatiya Janata Party on hunger strike."
In this longer version, Annamalai can be heard saying, "I wish to convey to the army heroes at the border that even if the (State) government is not by your side, we stand with you. You hold a gun in your hand, equipped with bullets, and there is Modi to give you orders. Just take the shot and come. BJP will handle the rest in Tamil Nadu. Each Tamil hero serving in the Indian Army on the border."
The viral clip was shared out of context. Annamalai wasn’t addressing the general public and instigating violence. The BJP leader’s statements were directed towards the army personnel. He was referring to soldiers at India’s borders, and not calling ex-servicemen to pick up arms.
We found a photo on Annamalai's X profile that matched the speech video. The image was posted on February 21. We compared the image with the Tnnews24 YouTube video and confirmed that the speech was delivered on February 21.
According to a report by The Times of India dated February 21, several BJP leaders and army personnel joined this march and hunger strike led by Annamalai.
BJP leader K. Annamalai did not instigate people for gun violence. He was addressing a rally against the murder of an army personnel allegedly by a DMK councillor on February 21. A portion of his speech was falsely shared on social media without context, to claim that he was advocating for gun violence. Therefore, we have marked this claim as false.
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