As the nation observed ‘9PM-9Minute’ blackout on April 5 after Prime Minister Modi’s appeal, fire-crackers were lighted across India, resembling a mini-Diwali. Soon after, videos and images were shared claiming fires broke out in several areas. A report also emerged from Maharastra’s Solapur that dry grass on the airside of the city airport caught fire.

Later at night, social media users began sharing a video supposedly of the fire incident. TV9 Marathi broadcasted the visual on April 5 claiming that it depicts the fire at Solapur airport. The channel has now taken down their broadcast video from YouTube.

News 18’s Marathi channel Lokmat correspondent Sagar Surawase tweeted the video with the same claim. Alt News co-founder Mohammed Zubair had retweeted Surawase’s tweet but undid the same clarifying that the clip is old.

Journalist Rajdeep Sardesai and Congress’s Srivatsa were among the prominent individuals who claimed that a fire broke out in Solapur but later took down their tweets.

Fact-check

A fire indeed broke out near the Solapur airport after PM Modi’s 9pm-9minute event. According to The Hindu, “Dry grass along the airside of Solapur airport caught fire on Sunday night. The blaze is believed to have been caused by firecrackers in the vicinity.” However, the video tweeted by several individuals is old and unrelated to the recent incident. With a keyword search on YouTube, we found an ABP Majha broadcast from February 3, 2020, which carried the same video.

A primary comparison of a screengrab from the ABP Majha broadcast (top) with the TV9 Marathi broadcast (bottom) from April 5 shows that both the videos are same.

In conclusion, a two-month-old video was shared as the recent fire incident at Solapur airport after the PM’s ‘9PM-9Minute’ blackout call was observed and subsequent reports of fire-crackers being burnt in various places across the country emerged.

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About the Author

Jignesh is a writer and researcher at Alt News. He has a knack for visual investigation with a major interest in fact-checking videos and images. He has completed his Masters in Journalism from Gujarat University.