Post goes viral with misleading claim it shows rally in Dharan


August 28, 2023


Post goes viral with misleading claim it shows rally in Dharan

KATHMANDU: A week ago, a viral video depicting people in Dharan consuming beef triggered controversy on social media. Subsequently, two men were apprehended on charges of cow slaughter.

On August 25, the local administration issued a prohibitory order in the sub metropolitan city after Hindu groups planned a protest against the cow slaughter.

Various Hindu groups were scheduled to organize a rally against cow slaughter on August 26. People from several districts congregated in Itahari and proceeded towards Dharan.

However, the police intervened, halting their progress, as there were concerns about potential communal clashes. To prevent such conflicts, a substantial police force was stationed at Dharan’s entry points.

On August 26, photos and videos purportedly showing a large-scale rally in Dharan went viral on social media platforms, including X, Facebook, and TikTok.

Some social media users shared images from the Itahari rally, while others incorrectly labeled them as Dharan’s mass gathering.

The viral footage showed hundreds of people bearing Hindu religious flags, parading through the streets.

A distinctive sky-blue building featured prominently in the visuals.

Contrary to the claims, Nepal Check found the video and photo show a religious procession in Birgunj, a city in Madhesh province of southern Nepal.

Our fact-checking process involved downloading the images and conducting a reverse image search on Google.

We found the same photo was originally published on June 20 by the Birgunj-based outlet, Hamaar Birgunj.

According to their report, the rally celebrated the 11th anniversary of the establishment of Gahwa Mai Temple in Maisthan, an area in Birgunj sub metropolitan city.

Participants included Hindu devotees from Parsa as well as neighboring districts such as Bara, Rautahat, and even India.

To corroborate this finding, we cross-referenced multiple Birgunj-based news sources. Both Birgunj Sanjal and Prateek Daily reported on the Rath Yatra (chariot festival) held in Birgunj in June, providing further confirmation.

In conclusion, the viral posts do not depict people marching in Dharan following the prohibitory orders. Instead, they show the Ratha Yatra held in Birgunj two months ago. Thus, these viral posts are misleading.

(Source: Nepal Check/https://nepalcheck.org/2023/08/28)