Several media outlets carried a video which was apparently shot at a traditional Pongal lunch in London hosted by United Kingdom Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. Times Now tweeted “#Watch: #UK #PM Rishi Sunak hosts traditional Pongal lunch in #London, his staff eat meals using their hands”. (Archive)
— TIMES NOW (@TimesNow) January 17, 2023
India today also tweeted the clip and claimed that the video was of UK delegates celebrating the Pongal festival by feasting on banana leaves. (Archive)
— IndiaToday (@IndiaToday) January 17, 2023
NDTV News Feed tweeted the image with the caption and wrote, “Watch: UK PM Office Celebrates Pongal, Staff Eats With Hands On Banana Leaf”. (Archive)
— NDTV News feed (@ndtvfeed) January 17, 2023
Gaurav Agarwal, who is attachced to TV9 Bharatvarsh, shared the clip and claimed that this was how Pongal was celebrated at the UK Prime Minister’s office. (Archive)
UK के प्रधानमंत्री कार्यालय में कुछ इस तरह मनाया गया पोंगल। Thanks @RishiSunak
— Gaurav Agrawal (@GauravAgrawaal) January 17, 2023
Senior Journalist Jayprrakash Singh also tweeted the clip with the same claim. (Archive)
— Jayprrakash Singh (@jayprakashindia) January 17, 2023
User @MeghUpdates tweeted the viral clip with the same claim and garnered almost 5,00,000 views and over 2,000 retweets. (Archive)
Viral Video of UK defense & PM’s office staff celebrating Pongal/Makar Sankranti festival.
A welcome change 🇮🇳 pic.twitter.com/CZXAjSxZLy
— Megh Updates 🚨™ (@MeghUpdates) January 17, 2023
Upon a reverse image search using key-frames from the viral video, we found the same clip on a page called Tamil Culture Waterloo Region. According to the caption of the post, the people seen in the video were Waterloo politicians, Regional Chair City Mayors, councillors, the police chief and staff. Thus, the video was shot in Canada and not the United Kingdom.
TCA Tamil Thai Pongal Celebration (Tamil Thanksgiving) region of Waterloo politicians, Regional Chair City Mayors, councilors and Police Chief and staff.
Posted by Tamil Culture Waterloo Region on Sunday, 15 January 2023
Moreover, upon a relevant keyword search on Twitter, we found a tweet by Waterloo MP Bardish Chagger, who posted images from the event.
On this 4th & final day of #ThaiPongal, I send best wishes to all celebrating, and my appreciation to @WaterlooTamils, all performers, and supporters for the wonderful festival this past weekend.
Also happy to welcome @GaryAnandasagaree to #WRawesome during Tamil Heritage Month. pic.twitter.com/peU3IoKWzG
— Bardish Chagger (@BardishKW) January 17, 2023
Chagger can be seen in the viral clip wearing the same attire, as seen in one of the images she posted. Below we have compared a screenshot from the clip and an image that was tweeted by her.
Chief of police Mark Crowell also tweeted an image from the Thai Pongal event at Waterloo.
A wonderful evening celebrating Tamil Heritage Month and #Pongal with the Tamil Cultural Association of Waterloo Region. @WRPSToday is grateful for your ongoing friendship and community leadership. #HappyPongal pic.twitter.com/qJ9c4KSMPn
— Mark Crowell (@Chief_MCrowell) January 15, 2023
He, too, can be seen in the viral video. Below we have made a similar comparison between a screenshot from the viral video and the image posted by him.
Mayor of Kitchener, Berry Vrbanovic, also shared images from the event. Kitchener is a city in the Waterloo region.
— Berry Vrbanovic (@berryonline) January 15, 2023
Below, we have compared one of Vrbanovic’s images with a screengrab from the viral video where he can be spotted.
Hence a video shot at Thai Pongal celebration at Waterloo, Canada showing Waterloo politicians, Regional Chair City Mayors, councillors, police chief and staff having a feast was falsely circulated as visuals from a lunch hosted by United Kingdom Prime Minister Rishi Sunak for his staff.
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