Misinformation spreads on TikTok with video falsely connecting Indian festival to support for Kathmandu’s mayor

In mid-June 2023, Kathmandu Metropolitan City Mayor Balendra Shah made headlines for banning the Hindi film Adipurush due to alleged dialogue that portrayed Hindu Goddess Sita as a daughter of India. However, the Nepali blog My Sansar found that the film did not contain such dialogue. In response to a petition against the ban, the Patan High Court issued an interlocutory order to lift the restriction on Indian movies in the metropolis.


#tik_tok for you page Nepal King 👑 balen sha power KTM

♬ original sound – mr_Lama_Sarkar🙏🏿💜

In this context, a TikTok user with the handle blackraja32 posted a video showing a huge rally on the short video-sharing platform on June 25. The text superimposed on the 17-second video (apparently shot by a drone) reads, “A scene (of protest) in Kathmandu against the Patan High Court after the court issued an order against the mayor’s decision to ban Indian films.”

On June 22, the Patan High Court issued an interlocutory order against the mayor’s decision to ban Indian movies in cinemas in Kathmandu Metropolis. The post further claims that the crowd is made up of supporters of Balen. The video has garnered over half a million views on TikTok.

The post has received over 50,000 likes, over 500 shares, and more than 950 comments as of June 27. The account has posted several videos using the word “Balen,” the stage name that Mayor Shah uses for his rap songs.

A collage of screenshots taken from viral TikTok videos posted by handles @blackraja32 (left) and @user1582492505720 (right).

The video was also shared by TikTok handle rock kanxa (@user1582492505720) on June 26. This video has received over 500,000 views and garnered more than 30,000 likes. The post on TikTok is accompanied by a newsreader’s voice describing Shah’s reaction to the court order. (See the archived version here). 


To determine the origin of the video, Nepal Check analysed keyframes from the footage. Performing a reverse image search on Yandex provided a hint that the video might be from the Jagannath Rath Yatra, an annual Hindu festival held in the town of Puri, Odisha, India. 

Subsequent searches on Google using relevant keywords led us to a video on YouTube showing a similar landscape and road. It was drone footage of the Jagannath Yatra in Puri.

Additionally, a video from the Indian news agency Asia News International (ANI) further supported the conclusion that the footage was from the Grand Road section of Puri, Odisha. 

viral tiktok video

By comparing the TikTok video with the Grand Road section of Puri on Google Earth, it was evident that the landscape and surroundings matched. Consequently, it can be concluded that the video was geolocated to the Grand Road section of Puri.

Contrary to the claims made in the viral TikTok video, the footage does not show supporters of Kathmandu Mayor Balendra Shah. Rather, it captures the massive crowd attending the Jagannath Rath Yatra in Puri of Odisha, India. 

The viral TikTok video claiming to show a massive crowd in Kathmandu in support of Mayor Balendra Shah’s decision to ban Indian films and against the court order is misleading. The video actually shows the Jagannath Rath Yatra in Puri, India, and does not represent the claimed support for the mayor.

ClaimClaimed byNepal Check Verdict
A massive crowd came out in support of Balen in Kathmandu against Patan High Court’s stay orderTikTok usersMisleading

This story first appeared on Nepal Check and Onlinekhabar is republishing it under the Creative Commons licence.

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Bhatta is a fact-checker at Global Press Journal in Nepal.

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