A nine-second video is being circulated on social media with the misleading claim that Prime Minister Narendra Modi called himself a “thief.”
However, we watched the full video of the campaign speech, given by him on 10 April, and found that a part of his speech was shared out-of-context to make the claim.
In the video, PM Modi can be heard saying in Hindi, "जब मैं छोटी चोरी करता था, उस दिन मेरी मां ने रोका होता तो मै इतना बड़ा लुटेरा न बनता ।"
(Translation: If my mother would have stopped me when I was stealing small things, I would not have become such a big robber.)
The claim shared by a Facebook user on 3 May has over 1.3 million views.
The post has been massively viral on Facebook.
WHAT WE FOUND
Upon conducting a reverse image search on Google, we found a tweet on the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) official Twitter handle on 10 April.
He was addressing the crowd at Siliguri in West Bengal while the fourth phase of polls were underway, and ahead of the fifth phase of West Bengal Assembly elections. Election in Siliguri was scheduled on 17 April.
Next, we searched the full video on YouTube and found it on the BJP’s official YouTube page that was streamed live on 10 April.
We found that the prime minister said those lines from 48:30-48:39 mins into his speech. However, social media users, edited the clip and shared it out of context, with the claim that he called himself thief.
He said the story to take a dig at West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief Mamata Banerjee and accusing her of "tolabaazi", a Bengali slang for organised extortion racket, in the state.
From 47.30 mins, you can hear him narrating a story.
He said, "Brothers and sisters, when I was a child, I heard a story. In that story, a very famous dacoit was sentenced to death. He was asked what's your last wish? He replied that I want to meet my mother. So, the government decided that before his execution, he must be allowed to meet his mother," he told the crowd.
PM Modi continued, “So, when he met his mother, he attacked her and cut her nose. He did that before going to be hanged. So, people asked him why did you do that? He then replied saying: If my mother would have stopped me when I was stealing small things, I would not have become such a big robber and I wouldn’t have been hanged.”
He then goes on to take a dig at Banerjee and says, “Didi is saying if someone is taking 100, 200 our 500 then what’s the deal?”
Clearly, an out-of-context clip was shared on social media with the false claim that PM Modi called himself a thief.
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