A video of several youths taking a pledge in Malayalam is being shared on social media with the claim that “United Malappuram” — consisting of six districts in Kerala — has elected its own Islamic Prime Minister and formed a separate army. The video also displays the text “Kunjalikutty Prime Minister of United Mamallapuram”.

Twitter user @MLDhar4 posted the video in question.

Twitter user @MeghUpdates also shared the video. Since then it has gained over 30,000 views. Multiple Twitter accounts have posted the video.

Similarly, a Facebook user posted this video on ‘I SUPPORT NRC घुसपैठिये भगाओ‘ — a group with 1.5 lakh members.

FACT-CHECK

No news outlets have reported that a new country “United Mamallapuram” has been formed out of six districts in Kerala. This would have been covered by nearly every news organisation had it been true. The misinformation piggybacks on certain political parties in the state supporting the bifurcation of Malappuram district in the past. Malappuram is the most populated district in Kerala.

Muslim Youth League (MYL) National General Secretary Faizal Babu told Alt News that the video is from 2008. He also provided an English translation of the pledge which has been cross-verified with Malayalam speakers. The pledge in English reads – “ I swear, being a proud party cadre, to utilize my time and resources for the empowerment of Muslims and other backward classes by bringing them to the mainstream of the society / I swear to dedicate in the political advancement keeping the values of our nation as unity, integrity, peace and communal harmony / I do understand that the politics of revenge, extremism, terrorism are harmful and that will demolish our social well being / I swear to uphold the philosophy of unity in diversity in all walks of life / I firmly believe in the idea of morality, transparency, corruption-free in our political system and a welfare state will be realized / I will extend whole supports to my county and I love my country. (sic)”

The youths do not take a pledge declaring “United Malappuram” a separate Muslim state with a Muslim Prime Minister.

In 2018, Facebook page ‘കൊണ്ടോട്ടി പച്ചപട‘ (Kondotty Green Army) posted the viral video along with a similar claim in Malayalam – “PK Kunhalikutty, Prime Minister of Malappuram receiving the Guard of Honor of the Green Army at the Seethi Sahib Memorial Parade”. Kondotty is a town in Malappuram.

PK Kunhalikutty is the incumbent National General Secretary of the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML). In the past, he has won elections from Kuttippuram, Vengara and Malappuram. He is a former Lok Sabha member. Kunhalikutty told Alt News, “The claim that I received the Guard of Honor as Malappuram PM is false.” Readers should note he can be seen in the viral video (highlighted in green).

Furthermore, MYL National General Secretary Faizal Babu said, “This video is from 2008 and shows the IUML youth wing Green Guard that existed prior to 2018. Based on the same principles of harmony and social service the White Guard was formed in 2018. Since then it has grown to be a one-lakh member organisation across Kerala. White Guard is the only official MYL volunteer organisation since 2018.”

Babu added, “The uniform of White Guard is white trousers and shirt. However, during fieldwork, they wear a light green shirt.” Kerala-based news outlet Malappuram had published an image of White Guards in their official uniform.

Last year The Hindu reported that Muslim Youth League started White Guard Medi Chain to distribute emergency medicines to terminally ill patients across the state. Babu told Alt News that White Guard is still actively executing the Medi Chain initiative and supporting other COVID relief work.

A PhD scholar in Humanities and Social Sciences from Kerala provided more perspective on the matter. The scholar did not wish to be named. “The video shows volunteer members of IUML. As of today, there is no division of IUML called the Green Army. Their official youth volunteer organisation is known as the White Guard. However, youth members casually refer to themselves as the ‘Green Army’ because IUML’s flag is green. On the other hand, the opposition uses the colour ‘green’ as an attack. When the opposition calls them Green Army they are essentially making a reference to Pakistan. Several dubious social media accounts have referred to them as Green Army with the same connotation hence, the confusion,” the scholar told Alt News.

BRIEF HISTORY ON THE POLITICS OF MALAPPURAM

Malappuram has 138 villages, seven talukas, and two sub-divisions. As per the 2011 census, the Muslim community constitutes the majority of the population in the district.

IUML pressed for bifurcation of Malappuram district, citing administrative and development reasons in 2013. This demand was formally rejected by Industries Minister E.P. Jayarajan. The Hindu reported that Jayarajan said the suggestion was unscientific and could cause severe social and political upheaval. Jayarajan believed that the answer to Malapurram’s issues was better decentralisation and improved public service delivery at the grassroots level.

In 2019, The News Minute published a detailed report that captures the nuances of this political issue. The report said, “The demand for Malappuram’s bifurcation is mired in politics and accusations of communalism, the data is evident to show that the district needs to get many more resources from the state government.”

IUML MK Muneer leader had told TNM, “We did not dismiss the demand just because the SDPI raised it. We understand that they have a communal agenda. However, the bifurcation that most political parties are talking about is not based on the religious composition and includes people from all communities. This should have been two districts, but the government will have to inspect the demand and decide. It should be done in such a way that we don’t lose our pluralism.”

To conclude, a video has been shared on social media with the false claim that IULM National General Secretary PK Kunhalikutty is receiving the Guard of Honor as Prime Minister of Malappuram. MYL National General Secretary Faizal Babu told Alt News that the video was shot in 2008.

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About the Author

Archit is a graduate in English Literature from The MS University of Baroda. He also holds a post-graduation diploma in journalism from the Asian College of Journalism. Since then he has worked at Essel Group's English news channel at WION as a trainee journalist, at S3IDF as a fundraising & communications officer and at The Hindu as a reporter. At Alt News, he works as a fact-checking journalist.