A video showing Muslim school girls being heckled while walking back home from a government school in Kasaragod, Kerala, is being shared with a false claim that they were punished and sent back home by the school for participating in Onam celebrations.
BOOM spoke to the Kasaragod district collector and a teacher from Government Higher Secondary School, Palikere, both of whom refuted the claim.
Onam is an annual harvest festival celebrated in Kerala and includes a spectrum of cultural events. Onam began on August 30, 2022, and ends on September 8. It is also celebrated as the official state festival in Kerala.
The nine seconds video shows a group of school girls, many of them wearing the hijab, being heckled with misogynist comments by people who do not appear in the frame.
The viral video is being shared with the caption, "Jihadis In Kasaragod, Kerala Kicked Out Girls Who Was Celebrating Onam Festival In Govt School By Saying Celebrating Onam Festival Is Haram." The caption of text on the video when translated reads, "onam programme stopped by residence"
However, in the viral video neither the word 'haram' or 'Onam' is heard. A man is heard shouting in Malayalam, "tomorrow you are to be married, now who will come to marry, you have no shame and hesitance".
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The same video is being shared on Facebook with the false claim in Malayalam.
(The caption when translated claims, "Should have got married tomorrow!! Women with no shame! Muslim children who came to celebrate Onam were chased away by the locals! Posters that Onam is Haram for Muslims")
BOOM found that the claim that Muslim girls were sent back home from Government Higher Secondary School, Palikere in Kerala for celebrating Onam is false and according to school staff and government authorities, the students were sent back home for not wearing their school uniform to a Onam programme.
On hearing the viral video, we can hear a man shouting misogynistic comments like, "tomorrow you are to be married, now who will come to marry, you have no shame and hesitance". However, nowhere in the video can one hear 'Onam' or 'haram' in Malayalam.
In the viral claim, the school name is mentioned, taking a hint from that we then contacted a school teacher at Government Higher Secondary School, Palikere who denied the claim.
The teacher, who did not wish to be named, said Onam celebration happened on September 2, 2022, and only students from 11th and 12th class were allowed to wear civil dress and rest were strictly told to wear their school uniforms. But students from class 9th and 10th came wearing civil dress and the Head Master stopped them at the gates and asked them to go back and come wearing their uniforms, the teacher said.
"When they were walking home nearby residents shot this viral video and insulted the students. Some of the students who were sent back returned back for the program wearing their uniforms later," the teacher added.
BOOM then contacted Kasaragod District collector Bhandari Swagat Ranveerchand who also refuted the claim stating that the students were not sent back from the government school for participating in Onam celebrations.
"Basically those students were not wearing their school uniform and those students were asked by the school to separate out, it was not any religion based separation or Onam celebration, it was just a regular procedure. The district police chief has also reported to me that this is fake news," Ranveerchand told BOOM.
The District Collector had also posted on Facebook on September 5, 2022, denying the claim that Muslim female students were sent back for celebrating Onam.
The post when translated reads, "the propaganda going on in the social media that a group of female students who had come to celebrate Onam in an institution in Kasaragod district were insulted is untrue. Strict action will be taken against those who spread fake news for hate propaganda."
Kasaragod Police also denied the viral claim calling it fake. The caption when translated reads, "The District Police Chief has come to the notice of the anti-socials spreading fake propaganda through social media with the intention of destroying the peaceful atmosphere and religious harmony in the district. Cyber patrolling is on the lookout for such people. The District Police Superintendent has instructed Cybercell to do and to take strict legal actions."
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