A news report published by Times Now on their official Twitter handle is doing rounds on social media. The caption of the news report says “Large gatherings seen in Kerala despite skyrocketing of COVID-19 cases. Details by Vivek K.” The broadcast was on Kerala Health Minister K.K. Shailaja’s statement that the annual festival of Thrissur Pooram will not be cancelled, despite public health concerns. Along with the broadcast one can see visuals on the side to show the large crowds amidst the ongoing pandemic in world. The video clearly shows violation of social distancing norms while hardly some people are seen with their masks on.
We started our investigation by observing the video carefully where we noticed “Kurnool, AP 15 April 2021” written on the footage. With a further keyword search we found news reports published by several media organizations stating that the video is from Kurnool in Andhra Pradesh. The visual show people in Kairuppala village, Kurnool gathered for ‘Pidakala War’ after Ugadi where thousands of villagers split into two and hurled cow dung at each other as part of the celebrations. According to news reports Pidakala War was held on 15 April 2021.
This video was also published by ANI on 15 April 2021 with the caption as #WATCH Social distancing norms violated at ‘Pidakal war’, during which cow dung cakes are hurled by two sides at each other on the next day of Ugadi, in Kairuppala village, Kurnool district yesterday #AndhraPradesh.
Further Fact Crescendo contacted Thrissur’s district information officer Mr. Nijas Jewel. He clarified that Thrissur Pooram will be conducted only for rituals. General public will not be allowed in the Pooram ground. Entry will be restricted to temple staff, Pooram organisers, elephant herders, media persons and temple artists.
Conclusion– Fact Crescendo has found the above-mentioned viral post to be False.The visual published by Times Now on their new bulleting to show mass gathering in Kerala amidst the rising COVID-19 cases in the country is from Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh and not from Kerala.
Note:-Kerala government has now decided that the festival, scheduled to be observed on April 23, will not witness public gatherings but only rituals will be held.
Title:Times Now misreports visuals from Andhra Pradesh as Kerala’s.Fact Check By: Aavya Ray