This clip of Indian politician’s campaign speech in 2019 has been deceptively edited
A video of Badruddin Ajmal, a prominent Muslim politician in India, has been shared on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter alongside a claim that the footage shows Ajmal promising to turn the state of Assam into an Islamic state if his coalition is voted into power. The claim is false; the clip has been deceptively edited from a 2019 campaign speech and Ajmal’s comments have been taken out of context.
The 36-second clip was published on Facebook here on March 10, 2021.
The Facebook post’s Hindi caption, which is also superimposed in the video, translates as: “He is Badruddin Ajmal, this is in Assam and he is planning along with Congress to turn Assam into an Islamic state.”
Ajmal’s purported remarks in Assamese translate to English as: “Mughals have ruled over India for 800 years. Will make this country an Islamic nation. Who will form the government? Our grand alliance will form the government over there where AIUDF will be a coalition partner, God willing. In India, there would have been no Hindus, everyone would have become Muslim.”
Badruddin Ajmal is the leader of the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF), which is in an alliance with India’s main opposition party, the Indian National Congress, in the upcoming elections in Assam.
The same video was posted on YouTube here.
The clip was also shared alongside an identical claim by local Assamese television network NE News on Facebook here.
A politician from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) party shared the clip on Twitter but later deleted the post; an archived version can be seen here.
The claim, however, is false as the clip has been deceptively edited.
Ajmal’s original remarks were made at a campaign rally during India’s general elections in 2019. The speech was published on YouTube here on April 17, 2019.
A review of the speech shows that the misleading clip has deceptively edited together various remarks to make it falsely appear Ajmal called for Assam to be an Islamic state.
Below is a transcript of Ajmal’s genuine comments, with the comments featured in the misleading clip in bold.
At the 5:50 mark, he states: “Mughals have ruled India for 800 years and they did not dream to make this country an Islamic nation. If they wanted, in India there would have been no Hindus. Everyone would have become Muslims, but did they do that? They didn’t even try. They didn’t have the courage.”
At the 6:20 mark, Ajmal criticizes BJP Prime Minister Narendra Modi for moving India away from its secular history and urges voters to support the AIUDF.
“Who will form the government? Our grand alliance will form the government over there where AIUDF will be a coalition partner, God willing,” he added at the 7:56 mark.
Below is a screenshot comparison between the misleading clip (L) and the 2019 YouTube video (R):
AIUDF also took to Twitter on March 10, 2021, to condemn news outlets and “right wing groups” for sharing the manipulated clip. They also included original footage of the 2019 speech in the tweet, seen here.
“Several media outlets including @NewsLiveGhy , @DY365 along with right wing groups have been sharing a doctored video of Honourable @BadruddinAjmal Sahab, clearly with a vested agenda. Here’s the original video from where parts are clipped to make the doctored one,” the tweet reads.
Several media outlets including @NewsLiveGhy, @DY365 along with right wing groups have been sharing a doctored video of Honourable @BadruddinAjmal Sahab, clearly with a vested agenda. Here’s the original video from where parts are clipped to make the doctored one. pic.twitter.com/p4Zp4JwNzd— AIUDF Official (@AIUDFOfficial) March 10, 2021
Ajmal also personally condemned the misleading clip, telling Indian news agency ANI here that the clip is “100% fake”.
“This is 100% fake. Parts from different speeches have been merged to make this and project that if Congress-AIUDF alliance comes to power, it will make Assam an Islamic state,” Ajmal told ANI in a statement on March 10, 2021.
This is 100% fake. Parts from different speeches have been merged to make this and project that if Congress-AIUDF alliance comes to power, it will make Assam an Islamic state: AIUDF chief Badruddin Ajmal on a viral video of his speech #AssamPolls pic.twitter.com/LBxUmj2XgQ— ANI (@ANI) March 10, 2021