Fact Check: Video Does NOT Show People Burned Alive In India Because They Are 30 And Still Unmarried

Fact Check

  • by: Rebaz Majeed
Fact Check: Video Does NOT Show People Burned Alive In India Because They Are 30 And Still Unmarried It's A Festival

Does this video show people who have reached the age of 30 and are still unmarried, being burned alive in India? No, that's not true. The video shows a religious festival in India in which no one gets hurt; it has nothing to do with burning alive unmarried people when they reach the age of 30.

The claim appeared in a video (archived here) published on TikTok by @mrmraa09 on June 1, 2023, under the title "It's their custom, they burn alive anyone who has reached 30 and is still unmarried."

(Translation from Arabic to English by Lead Stories staff).

This is what the post looked like on TikTok at the time of writing:

TikTok screenshot

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Thu Aug 17 10:21:09 2023 UTC)

The claim went viral on TikTok and it was published by many different accounts, such as here, here and here.

Lead Stories, on August 17, 2023, conducted a Google reverse image search adding the keywords "burn" or "fire," highlighting the text that appeared on the TikTok, and the results led to an original video published on June 1, 2023, on YouTube by vlogger @gajubabafact. The video shows moments of a religious ceremony in India, named Raj Rajeshwari Doli Yatra, in which the goddess Nanda Devi, also called Gaura or Raj Rajeshwari, is celebrated.

The vlogger, in the caption of the video, wrote in Hindi that the goddess Raj Rajeshwari had reached her temple safely. It added:

Emotional moments, last tears.

(Translation by Lead Stories staff).

The scenes in the video show parts of the pilgrimage and festival. The Divine India describes the event as such:

The Nanda Devi [otherwise called Gaura and Raj Rajeshwari in Garhwal division] Raj Yatra is organized once in 12 years. The major areas ... [associated with] ... Nanda Devi Yatra include three major districts of Uttarakhand - Pithoragarh, Almora and Chamoli. The pilgrims participating in this journey travel on foot ... [covering] a distance of about 280 kilometers. This journey is completed in about 19 to 20 days. This journey is called the most difficult pilgrimage in the world.

In another vlog video by @shivamkhanduri published on YouTube on May 29, 2023, the specific part of the ceremony appearing also in the TikTok is documented, showing two persons entering a small hut and leaving it before the hut is completely burned. Later, they throw themselves into the water.

Screenshot 2023-08-17 at 15.47.16.png

(Source: Youtube screenshot taken on Thu Aug 17 13:48 2023 UTC)

The Indian fact checking agency Factly confirmed to the Arabic fact checking agency Fatabyyano that during this ceremony no one gets burned or harmed and that it has nothing to do with burning unmarried people.

  Rebaz Majeed

Rebaz Majeed is a fact-checker at Lead Stories. He is a multilingual freelance journalist and researcher. He worked for five years as a reporter for Voice of America (VOANews) in Iraq. Currently, he is pursuing his MA in Interdisciplinary Studies of the Middle East at Free Berlin University. Rebaz brings extensive knowledge and expertise to his role at LeadStories.

Read more about or contact Rebaz Majeed

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