On September 22, 2022, in a raid jointly conducted by the National Investigation Agency (NIA), Enforcement Directorate (ED) and police in multiple states, over 100 leaders of the Popular Front of India (PFI) were arrested. PFI is a political organization founded in 2007 that claims to work for marginalized sections of the population. The raid was followed by nationwide protests from supporters of PFI on September 23. However, the protest in Pune by PFI became an epicentre of controversy after several media organizations and numerous verified Twitter handles claimed that protesters had raised the slogan ‘Pakistan Zindabad’.
A video showing PFI workers in Pune being shoved into a police van while demonstrators shout slogans has gone viral. Several users who shared the viral video claimed that the protesters could be heard shouting “Pakistan Zindabad” in the video. 40 PFI workers were reportedly detained in Pune.
On September 24, 2022, ANI tweeted that ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ slogans were heard outside the district collector’s office in Pune City the previous day, where PFI cadres had gathered to protest the ED-CBI-Police raids against their organisation. Some of the protesters were detained the following morning. ANI further added that the audio, though unclear, was ‘corroborated’ by reporters in the field.
The first person to post the above video on social media was ANI’s Indrajeet Chaubey.
Along with ANI, Times Now was one of the first media organizations to put forth the claim.
“Pakistan Zindabad” slogans ring out at #PFI protest rally in #Pune after members of the radical outfit were detained- watch exclusive updates on the #PFI crisis, only on TIMES NOW!@Aruneel_S on-ground and Siddartha Talya with more on the sloganeering. pic.twitter.com/vzMI9l7m5Q
— TIMES NOW (@TimesNow) September 24, 2022
Shivangi Thakur of Zee News posted a video captured from another angle, with the same claim.
“Pakistan Zindabad” slogans ring out at #PFI protest rally in Maharashtra’s Pune. pic.twitter.com/f7FNJKAWO1
— Shivangi Thakur (@thakur_shivangi) September 24, 2022
In order to verify the claims vis-a-vis the viral video, we looked at multiple other videos of the said incident to identify if the moment when the alleged slogans were raised had been captured in other videos. Among the many videos of the said incident that Alt News could procure from various journalists who were on the ground, we found two videos which were filmed from other angles and contained a key moment which was also present in the viral video. One version of the viral video can be seen below.
At the 00:17-mark in the video seen above, the police van can be seen moving away. The alleged sloganeering starts after the 00:03-mark in the viral video. We found the reference point of the van moving away in two other videos shared by Journalist Varsha Torgalkar and the Facebook page Policenama. We have used this key moment as a reference to compare and crosscheck the audio of the viral video with the other videos.
Policenama live coverage
Policenama published a Facebook live video of the event which shows what transpired on the ground. The protesters can be seen being shoved into the police van from 4:18 in the live video. The door of the van finally closes at the 7:10 mark of the live video. The van starts moving at the 7:56-mark.
#Live: NIA च्या कारवाईनंतर, PFI कार्यकर्ते आक्रमक…
Posted by Policenama on Friday, 23 September 2022
The relevant portion in the live video at 7:43 shows the sloganeering that has been shared in the viral clips. At this point in time, the slogan that was being raised was “Popular Front Zindabad” which can be clearly heard. The reader should note that the chain of events specified in this paragraph also took place within a span of 14-15 seconds, as seen in the viral video (mentioned above). The relevant clip from the Facebook live video can be seen below.
Below, we have compared the viral video (top) with the relevant clip from the Policenama live video (bottom) to demonstrate that the pertinent moments in the live coverage (sloganeering and the van moving away) are the same as seen in the viral video, all happening in a span of 14-15 seconds.
We observed the entire 12-minute live video uploaded by Policenama. Not once could “Pakistan Zindabad” slogans be heard.
Other videos of the incident
Journalist Varsha Torgalkar also shared some videos from the incident.
— Varsha Torgalkar (@varshasuman) September 24, 2022
The second video in Torgalkar’s Twitter thread captures the moment when the police van moves away. This is at the 00:28-mark in the video. The sloganeering prior to the van moving away can be heard starting at 00:14. In this video as well, the slogan that is being raised can be heard as “Popular Front Zindabad’, following which the van can be seen moving away. This is consistent with the relevant section in the Policenama video.
Newslaundry has published a report saying that police, contrary to the reports in Times Now, ANI, and Republic among others, refuted claims of pro-Pakistan being raised during the protest.
A regional channel, Divya Marathi, has cited police sources to repudiate claims of ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ slogans. Translated to English, the report says, Pune police commissioner Amitabh Gupta has denied claims of Pakistan Zindabad sloganeering. Likewise, Pune DCP Sagar Patil also said no such slogans were raised at the PFI rally. However, he said a case had been registered against the PFI for unlawful assembly.
Thus, an analysis of other videos of the same event which captured the time frame when the alleged slogans were raised shows that the slogans that were raised were ‘Popular Front Zindabad’, and not ‘Pakistan Zindabad’.
Others who shared the false claim
This false claim was shared by several other media channels and BJP leaders. NDTV, The Hindu, TOI, Jagran English, Zee Hindustan, ABP News, TV9 Marathi, India TV Hindi, OneIndia News, Zee 24 taas, LoksattaLive, Neetu Jha from ABP, Sandeep Kumar of Times Now, Shalini Kapoor Tiwari and Vivek Gupta of News18 India, Vinay Kumar Singh who writes for Jagran, Ashok Srivastav of DD News, and many other media organisations and individuals shared the video claiming that protesters raised ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ slogans.
Shubhankar Mishra, News Anchor at Aaj Tak, tweeted that ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ was chanted at the rally in the presence of about 60-70 people.
पुणे में PFI की रैली में लगे ‘पाकिस्तान जिंदाबाद’ के नारे, 60-70 लोगों की मौजूदगी थी। pic.twitter.com/M8X1yfx0zQ
— Shubhankar Mishra (@shubhankrmishra) September 24, 2022
OpIndia, a propaganda outlet that supports the BJP, also published an article highlighting the claim.
Pune: ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ slogan raised by PFI while protesting against NIA raids on its offices, 40 detained and over 60 bookedhttps://t.co/Ry3wjTdvqs
— OpIndia.com (@OpIndia_com) September 24, 2022
Several influential people associated with the BJP expressed anger while sharing the same video.
BJP party worker Kapil Mishra accused the PFI of conspiring to attack the Prime Minister, of training jihadis and blamed the Opposition for its silence.
PFI के द्वारा प्रधानमंत्री जी कि हत्या की साज़िश रचना , जिहादियों को ट्रेनिंग देना ये अक्षम्य अपराध है
PFI के जो कीड़ें पाकिस्तान ज़िंदाबाद के नारे लगा रहे हैं उनपर कीटनाशक भारत की जनता खुद छिड़क देगी
लेकिन विपक्ष की चुप्पी आज देश को खल रही हैं pic.twitter.com/xn2hvpLnd0
— Kapil Mishra (@KapilMishra_IND) September 24, 2022
BJP MLA from Maharashtra Nitesh Rane, seeking a ban of PFI in his tweet threatened the protesters shouting pro-Pakistan slogans of dire consequences.
To all those shouting Pakistan Zindabad slogans in support of PFI in Pune..
Chun chun ke marenge.. Itna yaad rakana!!! #BanPfi
— nitesh rane (@NiteshNRane) September 24, 2022
Siddharth Shirole, MLA and BJP spokesperson from Pune City, indicated such sloganeering was tantamount to treason.
हे खपवून घेतला जाणार नाही !
You have the right to protest..even have the right of legal recourse to save your felonious colleagues.
But not for a moment believe that you & your treasonous sect will be spared for sloganeering “Pakistan Zindabad” in #Pune, in #India#PFICrackdown pic.twitter.com/tTxLmPKVbw
— Siddharth Shirole (@SidShirole) September 24, 2022
Filmmaker Ashoke Pandit called PFI a ‘terror organisation’ and alleged that the organisation was being backed by Pakistan.
Ashish Sood of BJP, BJP party worker Priti Gandhi, BJP vice president of Delhi Rajiv Babbar, BJP Mahila Morcha’s national media in-charge Neetu Dabas, national vice-president of BJYM Ram Satpute, MNS leader Raj Thackeray, Former DGP of Jammu and Kashmir Shesh Paul Vaid, Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde likewise condemned the alleged slogans and called for strict measures against such ‘anti-national’ acts.
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