A video showing a group of men loudly reciting the azan (Islamic call to prayer) is being shared on social media, with text that insinuates that it shows people from the Muslim community taking to the streets to do so, in retaliation to the recent loudspeaker ban in parts of the country.
However, we were able to trace the video back to 2020, showing that it predates the recent ban, which was announced in Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, as well as Rajasthan's Ajmer.
In Maharashtra, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) leader Raj Thackeray demanded that loudspeakers be removed from mosques in the state while speaking at a press conference on 17 April.
While we could not independently verify the context of the incident, we could confirm that the video first surfaced less than a month into the first nationwide lockdown due to COVID-19, and was shot in Howrah, West Bengal.
Some users also shared the video to claim that it showed people retaliating to the loudspeaker ban in Mumbai, Maharashtra.
WHAT WE FOUND OUT
Using InVID, a video verification tool, we divided the video into multiple keyframes and ran reverse image searches on some of them.
One of the results led us to a tweet dated 19 April, 2020 that contained a screenshot of a Facebook post.
Taking a cue from here, we looked for the video on Facebook, and came across a clear version of it shared by user Roshan Singh on 7 April, 2020.
Here, we were able to identify shop names and signs in the background of the video.
In this screenshot, the name 'Yashika Stores' can be seen, along with a partially visible bright blue board that resembles the logo of Canara Bank.
We also saw another board for one 'Dr N Rai' that carried the text 'Homeopath' under it, and the sign for an adjoining shop that bore the text 'Howrah.'
Using keywords, we looked for the presence of a 'Yashika Stores' in Howrah, West Bengal and found that a shop with the same name was located between Dr N Rai's clinic and a Canara Bank branch along GT Road, North in West Bengal's Howrah.
While we weren't independently unable to verify the context of the video, we found that the video predates the recent loudspeaker ban row and is from Howrah, West Bengal and not Maharashtra's Mumbai.
Clearly, an old video of people reciting the azan was shared to claim that it showed people from the Muslim community taking to the streets to do so, retaliating to orders to ban loudspeakers at religious places in several parts of the country.