2021 video of TLP procession shared as anti-India protest

Video is actually from the ‘chehlum’ procession of TLP founder Khadim Rizvi

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Claim: A video shows a large group of people in Pakistan protesting in response to recent controversial remarks by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) former spokesperson Nupur Sharma and party leader Naveen Kumar Jindal that were seen as insulting the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

Fact: The video is from 2021 and is not connected to any anti-India protests in Pakistan.

On 1 January 2022, Twitter user @DrAsifKhanTLP1 uploaded a video showing a large group of protesters gathered under an overhead railway bridge with a train passing along it. The clip featured chants of “Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah [Here I am, Yes, O Messenger of God],” which are linked to far-right Islamist political party, the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP).

@DrAsifKhanTLP1 captioned it as follows:

“If the whole world wants peace, then the only way to achieve it, is to learn to respect our Holy Prophet ﷺ Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan,” with the hashtag, “#إلا_رسول_الله_يا_مودي.”

The video comes after Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson Nupur Sharma and party leader Naveen Kumar Jindal made controversial remarks that were seen as insulting the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), prompting international backlash, particularly from Muslim countries. 

Fact or Fiction?

Soch Fact Check took a screenshot from the viral clip and enhanced it through a sharpening tool to make the footage clearer. We then used Google Reverse Image Search and TinEye Reverse Image Search. The Google search led us to multiple videos from June 2022 that are addressed in the ‘Virality’ section below, while the TinEye search turned up a tweet by Twitter user @NeuroneIntel, which linked the protest seen in the video to the April 2021 arrest of Saad Hussain Rizvi, the son of TLP founder Khadim Hussain Rizvi.

However, further investigation revealed that the protest in the video was not connected to the arrest of Saad Hussain Rizvi either but rather was from a January 2021 TLP procession.

In addition to identifying this Facebook post which carried the video and was published on 8 January 2021, we looked up TLP protests and gatherings held around the same date. We found two YouTube videos — here and here — that are described as being from the ‘chehlum’ of Khadim Hussain Rizvi.

In Islam, a ‘chehlum’ is a religious observance held approximately 40 days after an individual’s death. Rizvi died on 19 November 2020 and his ‘chehlum’ was held on 4 January 2021.

Soch Fact Check also searched for photographs of Rizvi’s ‘chehlum’ procession at Lahore’s Multan Road in January 2021 on the websites of stock photography companies Shutterstock and Getty Images. We found two images in which we were able to identify markers that suggest the viral video is also from the January 2021 ‘chehlum’ procession. 

We zoomed in on this image from Shutterstock and this one from Getty Images and identified at least six markers, as set out below, which are consistent across the stock images and the screenshot from the viral video.

Soch Fact Check concludes that the viral video is, in fact, from the ‘chehlum procession’ and not from the recent anti-India protests.

On a related note, the video was also misleadingly shared as a protest in Mumbai against the 2021 Tripura riots and was, therefore, fact-checked in November 2021 by Factly, an International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) signatory.

Virality

Soch Fact Check conducted a CrowdTangle analysis for the period from 25 May to 13 June using the following search terms:

  • “Crowds In Support Of The Prophet”
  • “I Strongly condemn the remarks of BJP leader against our Beloved Prophet Muhammad”
  • “Neither will our pious fail, nor will our sinners”

The first search term turned up almost 100 posts on Facebook with more than 31,000 interactions, while, on Instagram, there were three posts with close to 21,000 interactions. The second search term turned up 72 posts on Facebook with 7,741 interactions, while, on Instagram, there were four posts with 6,020 interactions.

The third search term turned up almost over 1,900 posts on Facebook with 209,865 interactions; however, these included posts pertaining to Christianity as well so we limited our search to ‘videos only’, which revealed 31,735 interactions across 110 posts. On Instagram, there were seven posts with almost 23,600 interactions.

Popular posts on Facebook were this, this, this, this, and this, which received more than 562,000 views, 273,100 views, 124,000 views, 31,000 views, and 17,800 views, respectively. Others included this, this, and this. On Instagram, there were three videos — this, this, and this — that received over 56,100 views, 34,000 views, and 1,300 views.

On Twitter, the video was recently shared here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. It was also shared earlier in connection with different claims, such as on 28 March, 13 April, 14 April, and 16 May.

Twitter user @satviksoul shared it with the claim that it was a “Muslim Convention at Kolkata”, which, too, is incorrect.

Conclusion: The video is from the 2021 ‘chehlum’ procession of former TLP leader Khadim Rizvi and has no relation to any anti-India protests in Pakistan.

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