English, Fake News

This video of DMK MP T.R. Baalu’s speech on ‘demolishing 100- year-old temples’ is clipped and is shared out of context


Several posts (here, here, and here) are circulating on social media platforms, featuring a video allegedly showing Tamil Nadu’s DMK MP T.R. Baalu stating, “I have destroyed a 100-year-old temple; I have demolished Saraswati temple, Lakshmi temple, and Parvati temple.” The claim accompanying the video suggests that DMK MP T.R. Baalu made these comments with pride in demolishing temples. Let’s fact-check these claims in this article.

The archived version of similar posts can be found here & here.

Claim: Video showing Tamil Nadu’s DMK MP T.R. Baalu saying with pride that he has demolished 100-year-old temples.

Fact: On 27 January 2023, T.R. Baalu delivered this speech during a conference in Madurai, advocating for the implementation of the Sethusamudram project. Originally, Baalu was recounting his tenure as a union minister and describing instances where places of worship, such as temples, mosques and churches, were demolished for various development projects. This viral video has been created by clipping segments of his speech and is being shared out of context. Hence, the claim made in the post is MISLEADING.

To gather information about this viral video, we conducted a relevant keyword search. This led us to a video live-streamed on YouTube by ‘News 18 Tamil Nadu’ on 27 January 2023, titled ” LIVE: Conference urging implementation of the Setu Sea Canal Project Sethusamudram Project.”(Upon translation from Tamil to English). The conference was held in Madurai and was attended by members of the DMK and allies.

Upon reviewing the entire video, we found that the viral clip of T.R. Baalu starts at 49 minutes and 53 seconds. Originally T.R. Baalu was talking about the time he served as the union minister and how his department had to demolish places of worship like temples, mosques, and churches for several development projects.

From the timestamp 49.45 of the video, TR Baalu can be heard saying “It was said about human beliefs now. How should human beliefs be?  I had demolished a 100-year-old temple on behalf of my other department. I had demolished a 100-year-old temple during a 4-lane highway project and a 100-year-old mosque in Kolkata. I have demolished temples, mosques, and churches. People come when we demolish the religious places located on the highway path. Jyoti Basu, former CM of West Bengal questioned me that even though the vote bank is an issue, is it right to involve in religious beliefs? I answered him that I had demolished three temples of goddesses namely Saraswati, Lakshmi, and Parvati which were located on GST Road in my constituency despite knowing that I would not get votes. But I know how to get votes. My friends suggested not to do it quoting the vote bank. But I had no options. They need another temple to be built by the government, which I did with additional facilities including a dining hall that could accommodate 100-200 people”. (Upon translation from Tamil to English). From this, it is clear that T.R. Baalu’s speech has been clipped and edited in different portions and is being shared out of context.

During this search, we have also come across several reports (here, here, & here) published in January 2023, stating that an edited video clip of DMK MP T.R. Baalu’s remarks on temple demolition has been made viral by several BJP leaders and shared out of context. According to the ‘Indian Express’ news report, Tamil Nadu state BJP chief K. Annamalai shared an edited clip of DMK MP T.R. Baalu’s speech at an event in Madurai and alleged that DMK members take pride in demolishing 100-year-old Hindu temples. After the video went viral, DMK supporters on social media noted that the clip was edited and shared a longer version of the speech made by Baalu in support of the Sethusamudram Project.

To sum up, this video of DMK MP T.R. Baalu’s speech on ‘demolishing 100- year-old temples’ is clipped and shared out of context.


About Author

Comments are closed.