As general elections near, old videos of politicians making false and misleading claims have resurfaced on social media. A 16-second clip of Sujata Koirala, a central member of the ruling Nepali Congress, has gone viral on social media with claims that she rooted for Nepal’s territory to be handed to India. The video clip with text in Nepali reads: “Kalapani territory belongs to India. It should be given to India—Sujata Koirala, Leader, Nepali Congress, candidate of the electoral alliance, Morang-2.”
A Facebook user, NB Samarpan, shared the post on October 11, 2022. The post received 118 comments and has been shared 774 times. Social media users have widely shared the post along with the video clip. A Twitter user with the handle @shining_prince1 posted it to their 3489 followers. Similarly, @pradipbhattarai_ shared the video clip on TikTok with an accompanying text: “Kalapani territory belongs to India: Nepali Congress leader Sujata Koirala.” The video has received more than 2,500 views.
The ruling alliance has fielded Koirala in Morang Constituency-2 for next month’s federal parliamentary elections. The video clip shows the former foreign minister reading a paper on the table after putting on her spectacles. Koirala is heard saying: “We can lease it (Kalapani) out. We are not even capable of constructing roads there. Our government doesn’t have access to Kalapani. Let’s rent the territory out. Leasing out to India doesn’t mean selling the country.”
Nepal Check fact-checked the post along with the video clip, which is viral on social media platforms.
The video was filmed during a meeting of Parliament’s International Relations Committee, which Koirala attended on May 11, 2020. The meeting directed the government to remove Indian security personnel from the Kalapani area. The committee also instructed the government to issue a new map showing the encroached territory. (Nepal Government officially released the new political map that includes Kalapani on May 20, 2020).
We found a 5.44-minute-long video of Koirala speaking in the parliamentary committee meeting, published on the YouTube channel of Setopati online portal. In the video, she is heard saying:
“Just now, I read a news report about me. It’s been published again. (The same news had been published six months ago). Now, it has started all over again. According to the headline, I said Kalapani belongs to India, and it should be given to India. Can I ever say something like that? I have fallen behind in politics due to my position for my country. I have defended the interests of the country firmly. Everyone should be aware of this.”
Nepal Check found that the news former minister Koirala referred to was derived from an interview she gave Prime Times Television on January 5, 2020. In the interview, she proposed leasing Kalapani to India, according to a news article published in Reporters Nepal. In their report based on the interview, a few news sites claimed she said Kalapani should be given to India.
After closely examining the viral video clip, we found the video doctored. The viral video shows Koirala’s first statement. After the first statement, social media users removed 17 seconds from the original video and added the subsequent part.
We conclude that the post claiming Koirala advocated ceding Kalapani to India is misleading. The video has been manipulated to show her in a bad light.
South Asia Check had earlier fact-checked the claim made in social media posts.
|Claim||Claimed by||Nepal Check Verdict|
|Nepali Congress leader Sujata Koirala said Kalapani should be given to India.||Social media users||Misleading|
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