Asia Cup 2023: Years-old anti-India chants edited on to Gautam Gambhir video
People chanted in support of Virat Kohli but Pakistanis cricket fans blamed
Claim: Pakistani cricket fans chanted an anti-India slogan at Gautam Gambhir, who was commentating during an Asia Cup 2023 match, as he exited the stands. In response, Gambhir flipped the middle finger at the Pakistani cricket fans.
Fact: In the original video, fans of Virat Kohli are chanting, “Kohli, Kohli, Kohli!”, not anti-Indian slogans. The slogans in favour of Kohli appear to have ticked off Gambhir.
On 4 September 2023, multiple X (formerly Twitter) users, including @Riyaagrahari8 (archive), posted a video showing former Indian batter Gautam Gambhir showing the middle finger to what was claimed to be Pakistani cricket fans during an Asia Cup 2023 match between India and Nepal held at Pallekele Stadium in Kandy, Sri Lanka.
Gambhir — also a lawmaker associated with the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) — was commentating during the cricket match and was caught on camera (archive) as he exited the stadium.
In the video, chants of “بھارت، تیرے ٹکڑے ہوں گے! انشاءاللہ! انشاءاللہ! [India, you will be broken into pieces! God willing! God willing!]” were heard moments before Gambhir flipped off the fans and left.
Social media platforms in India, which won the match, were flooded with the same video as conservative folks criticised Pakistan for the alleged slogans against their country.
Fact or Fiction?
Soch Fact Check scrolled through multiple posts, as well as their respective comments and quote-tweets (or quote-posts), to ascertain the truth of what transpired.
Upon further search, we found that another version of the video exists, this time with chants of “Kohli, Kohli, Kohli!” These were posted by users @BigggBoss17 (archive) and @Tweet2Chayan (archive), with the latter claiming the sound was clearer in their post.
Taking a cue from this, we tried to search for the earliest instance this version was posted and found it shared by X users @WaleedMalik_9, @Cricketracker, and @drunkJournalist at 6:02 PM, 6:15 PM, and 6:29 PM, with the respective archived links here, here, and here.
— Waleed 🇵🇰🇵🇸 (@WaleedMalik06) September 4, 2023
We also found comments by some users, such as @kkjons and @100rubsays, archived here and here, stating that the chants originally appeared in another instance in 2016. We corroborated this by finding the original video (archive), in which the same slogans can be heard.
Later, in a talk with journalists, a video (archive) of which was shared by Indian media agency Asian News International (ANI), Gautam Gambhir appeared to have picked up on the narrative presented in the doctored videos, saying, “If you raise anti-India slogans and speak about Kashmir, then the person before you will obviously react and not smile and leave.”
“There were 2-3 Pakistanis there who were speaking anti-India things and things on Kashmir. So, it was my natural reaction. I can’t hear anything against my country,” Gambhir said.
“A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes”.
Not everything is as it seems. Any Indian would react how I did to the kind of slogans used against our nation. I love our players & I love my country. 🇮🇳🇮🇳
— Gautam Gambhir (@GautamGambhir) September 4, 2023
Moreover, @xTripti, the user whose X handle appears in the viral video, admitted in a series of tweets that the clip had been manipulated just “for the sake of fun”.
While the account has either been deactivated or deleted, it claimed that the video was “edited” (archive) and was posted just for “impressions” (archive) on the X platform. In another post (archive), @xTripti wrote:
“Hello Guys, wo video edited hai koi news se audio add kiya hai, bas aise hi majje majje mein. Na to koi hate failana maksad tha na kuch aur […] Agar kisi ke bhawnao ki aahat pahunci ho or dukh hua ho to uske liye Sorry!
[Hello guys, that video is edited, I added the audio from some news clip just to have some fun. It was not my intention to spread hate or anything else. And if I hurt someone’s feelings or upset them, then I’m sorry!]”
The two cricketers have had a long history of altercations and snide remarks. It started in 2013 as “one of the ugliest fights in the history of Indian Premier League”, or IPL.
“A lingering tension seems to persist,” Hindustan Times wrote, after Gambhir aggressively sent off Kohli, which “didn’t sit well with a young Kohli, who confronted his Delhi teammate with a verbal exchange”.
Conclusion: The original video does not carry anti-India slogans but, in fact, fans of Virat Kohli chanting “Kohli, Kohli, Kohli!” The slogans in favour of Kohli appear to have ticked off Gambhir.
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