A video of Muslims protesting in Kerala was shared by the Twitter account of Indu Makkal Katchi (Offl) alleging that these Muslims are protesting in Alappuzha against the district’s newly appointed collector, Sriram Venkitaraman, because he is a Brahmin.
However, we have found the claim to be false and misleading. The protesters staged a march against the collector not because of his caste. Protesters staged a march against Venkitaraman due to a two-year drunk driving case in which a local journalist from Thiruvanthapuram was killed.
You can see the tweet from Indu Makkal Katchi’s (Offl) Twitter account below:
In the tweet, it is claimed that the video is from a protest of “Allepy” (misspelled Alleppey – old name of Alappuzha) in Kerala. He further alleges that these Muslims are protesting against their new collector because he is a Brahmin.
Protesters can also be heard chanting slogans in Malayalam. The slogans can be roughly interpreted as follows: “Take back your decision, government. Call back the collector of drunken assassins…”
Let’s find out why this protest was called and what their request was.
We did a keyword research using relevant video-related keywords. We found a report published by the Hindustan Times. According to the article, Kerala Muslim Jamath organized the protest. The protest was organized across Kerala against the appointment of new Alappuzha collector, Sriram Venkitaraman.
Venkitaraman, who took over as collector of Alappuzha district on July 26, was charged with drunken driving which led to the death of a journalist, KM Basheer in 2019. The collector was returning from a party with a friend, Wafa Firoz, when his car hit KM Basheer’s two-wheeler. Basheer was a veteran journalist who worked for the Malayalam newspaper Siraj Daily. AP Samastha Foundation headed by Kanthapuram AP Aboobacker Musliyarm, runs Siraj Daily. Kerala Muslim Jamath, which has organized protests against Sriram, is also affiliated with Samastha.
Also, when we observed the video closely, we found that the video was not from Alappuzha but from Malappuram. At 0:22 we can see the name board with Beauty Spot written on it. The address is written right below it says, Up Hill, Malappuram.
We were also able to locate Poly Dental Clinic (also seen in the video) in the same locality i.e. Up Hill, Malappuram. Thus, it is clear that the video was not shot in Alappuzha but in Malappuram.
We talked about Kerala Muslim Jamaath State Secretary Wandoor Abdul Rahman Faizy who had also led the protest march in Malappuram. He told us that “the march was organized to protest against the government’s decision to appoint Sriram Venkitaraman as collector of Alappuzha. This march had nothing to do with Venkitaraman’s caste. The video is also not from Alappuzha but from Malappuram and similar protests have been staged across Kerala. We were protesting against Venkitaraman for the 2019 drunk driving incident where journalist KM Basheer was killed after a fatal collision with the car Venkitaraman was driving.
The video shared by Indu Makal Katchi’s Twitter account does not show Muslims protesting the appointment of a Brahmin collector in Alappuzha. The video is from Malappuram and Kerala Muslim Jamaath organized the protest against new Alappuzha collector Sriram Venkitaraman. Sriram Venkitaraman was involved in a road accident in which KM Basheer, the Thiruvanathapuram bureau chief of Siraj Daily – a newspaper associated with the Kerala Muslim Jamaath. Because of this, the Jamaath had staged protests across Kerala against the state government for appointing Venkitaraman as collector of Alappuzha district.
IAS officer Sriram Venkitaraman, who was appointed Alappuzha district collector last week, has been removed from his post. Instead, he will now be named General Manager, Civil Supplies Corporation.
Title:A Muslim organization protesting Alappuzha collector S. Venkitaraman has shared with a misleading account…
Fact check by: Harish Nair