Fact Check: Does viral video show police arresting Hindu boy in Kerala?

The boy lost his father amid the rush of Sabarimala pilgrims in Nilakkal. He finds his father in the end.
(Source: Screenshot social media)
(Source: Screenshot social media)

A video of a boy in the attire of an Ayyappa devotee, looking out from the window of a bus, crying, shouting for his ‘Appa’ and pleading with a policeman standing outside the bus, is going viral. People sharing the video claim that Kerala police have arrested the boy for being a Hindu.

An X user shared the video with the caption, “Bharat… See the atrocities committed against Hindus by “Pinarayivijayan” & the communist government of Kerala. The communist government of Kerala has crossed all limits. This is the situation of Muslim appeasement, Kerala government is now arresting small children. Wake up, Hindus (sic)”

Similar posts can be seen herehere, and here.

Sabarimala Sree Dharma Sastha Temple, dedicated to Lord Ayyappa, is the most famous and prominent Hindu temple in Kerala. This year, due to large footfalls, many visitors, including those from Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, cancelled their journey to Sabarimala and returned home. Visitors were forced to wait for hours as police prohibited vehicles in the wake of heavy footfalls. All this has led to chaos in Sabarimala, resulting in massive protests due to mismanagement.

The situation became so grim that the Devaswom Bench of the Kerala High Court also intervened. It directed the authority that those without a virtual queue booking or spot booking for queues should not be allowed darshan.

Fact Check

On observing the video, we found that the logo of Asianet News on the top right corner. Taking a hint, we searched for the video on the YouTube channel of Asianetnews and found the same video uploaded on December 12, 2023. The video was titled “‘Daddy...Daddy...’, Kunjaiyappan shouted to the police. (translated from Malayalam)”

The Malayalam caption for the video when translated reads, “‘Dad.... Dad..’ Kunjuayyapan begged the police and when he saw his dad amongst the crowd a sense of relief washed over him and he waved at his father.”

Asianet Newsable also uploaded the video to its English website. According to the information published on the website, the video showed the child in a bus searching for his father, who was lost in the crowd at Nilakkal. The boy pleads with the police with folded hands to help him find his father.

The report said that the boy finds his father at the end of the video and hence is seen waving to someone in the crowd behind the camera.

OneIndia also reported about the incident on December 12, 2023. According to the report, the viral video was from the Sabarimala Temple. The child had visited the temple with his family and had lost his way. Later, he was found by an on-duty policeman and reunited with his father.

We also contacted the Pampa Police Station in Kerala, who said, “This happened at Nilakkal base camp related to the Sabarimala pilgrimage. Nilakkal is the boarding point to Sabarimala. That boy’s father couldn’t catch the bus when it started moving. At that time, the boy started crying loudly.”

Hence, we conclude that the boy was crying as he lost his father, and not because he was being arrested for being a Hindu. Moreover, in the end, he finds his father too.

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