Old video of Kolkata slums shared as illegal encroachments in Haldwani

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On December 20, 2022, the Uttarakhand high court ordered the eviction of close to 50,000 people allegedly living on railway land in the state’s Haldwani district. Following this, people facing the eviction staged a continued protest claiming that the land did not belong to the Railways. The eviction was supposed to begin from January 10.

In the backdrop of this, a minute-long video was shared on social media that showed slum settlements alongside railway tracks. It was claimed that the video was from Haldwani. On close inspection, it seems to be a complication of two videos recorded by a passenger inside a train.

A user called FF Hacker shared the video saying it offered a glimpse of illegal encroachments near Haldwani. This video has gained over 5,000 views on Twitter. (Archived link)

Other Twitter accounts also shared this video. While all the videos are identical, the duration varies. Some of them are 45-second long and the one mentioned above is of 1:25-minute duration. (Examples can be seen here and here)

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Fact Check

If one watches the clip attentively, one will notice a poster of West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee at the 0.06-minute mark in the video shared by FF Hacker.

Using a keyword search on YouTube we found a longer version of the viral video uploaded in 2017 on a YouTube channel named SUKAMAL CHAKRABORTY. As per the title, the video is from Kolkata.


Furthermore, in the YouTube video, we noticed a sign in front of a railway bridge that read ‘Tolly Nalah’. Tolly Nalah or Tolly Nullah is a major canal in south Kolkata which serves as the backbone of the city’s drainage system. It can be located on Google Maps.


Over a telephonic conversation, Sukamal Chakraborty told Alt News, “I recorded this video in Kolkata while travelling from Budge Budge to Tollygunge railway station.” Upon enquiring if he remembered the exact location, he added, “This was recorded a long time back, so unfortunately, I can’t tell you the exact location.”

To sum it up, a 2017 video from Kolkata that shows slum settlements along railway tracks from Budge Budge to Tollygunge was shared with the claim that it showed occupants in Haldwani.

Even as this story was being written the Supreme Court put a stay on the Uttarakhand high court’s eviction order and said that a practical solution had to be arrived at. The matter will be heard again on February 7.

 

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