In a historic first, India’s Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft’s Vikram lander touched down near the moon’s little-explored south pole at 6.04 pm on August 23.

Soon after this, as the mainstream and social media saw a deluge of news and updates about the achievement of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), a video of ISRO chairman S Somanath was widely shared.

Sidharth.M.P, who is a senior correspondent at WIONews, shared the video with the caption “Celebrate and dance your hearts out tonight. How many ppl in the world have the power & knowledge to make 1.4+bn hearts swell with pride & joy!” (Archive)

Another Twitter user, @PoddarVaishali, who, according to her bio, is the state general secretary of Delhi BJP Mahila Morcha, also shared the video. He wrote that Somanath and the ISRO team were celebrating the grand success of the Chandrayaan 3.

Twitter user @MeghUpdates, who shares misinformation on a regular basis, shared this video as well.

Several media outlets reported that ISRO chairman S Somanath was seen dancing in celebration of the success of Chandrayaan 3. Among them were Times Now, Indiatimes, Kalinga TV, TV9 Bangla and lesser-known outlets like Newsroom Post, and Filmibeat.

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News18 tweeted a report saying Somanath and his team were dancing while celebrating the successful landing of Chandrayaan3. The report, however, said, “ISRO Chief S Somanath’s Joyous Dance Video Resurfaces After Chandrayaan-3’s Success”.

Fact Check

To verify the identity of the man seen in the viral video, we looked up the official website of ISRO and found that he was indeed the chairman of ISRO and secretary of the department of space (DoS).

We also noted that @ANI posted a video of the ISRO chairman’s speech after Chandrayaan 3’s successful landing on the moon, in which he can be seen wearing a Nehru jacket with a badge on his pocket.

On the other hand, in the viral video we can see the ISRO chairman wearing a blazer with an ID card hanging from his neck. This indicated that the dance video might not be from the historic day of the Chandrayaan 3 landing.

We then noted that Sidharth MP, the WION who had tweeted the dance video, replied to his own tweet saying, “This is a video from earlier this year and I had formal access to this entire event and that’s how I had filmed it This video is not from tonight!”

Speaking to PTI, Sidharth said, “This (Video) is from an event in July (last month) in Bengaluru. It was the G20 space economy leaders’ meeting cultural night event. Last night (post-success) is the first time this video is being put out from my side. I only wanted to post this video when the Chandrayaan 3 lands on the Moon. It was a feel-good moment.”

To corroborate this, we performed a keyword search on X (formerly Twitter) and found a video tweeted by ANI where Somanath can be seen speaking at the G20 meet.

Here, Somanath can be seen wearing a black blazer with an ID card hanging from his neck, as in the viral video.

The 4th Edition of Space Economy Leaders Meeting took place in Bengaluru on July 6 and 7 this year.

We can thus confirm that the video of ISRO chief S Somanath dancing is not from the day of Chandrayaan 3’s landing on the moon on August 23. It is an old video.

Shreyatama Datta is an intern at Alt News.

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