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Fact Check: Old video from Saudi Arabia shared to show Holi celebrations at Atal Tunnel in India

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A video from Saudi Arabia dating back to 2018 from an event is being shared with false claim that it shows Holi celebrations in India. 

A video has surfaced on social media platforms showing a plumes of colourful smoke and fireworks near a building and a road tunnel claiming that it shows the celebration of Holi at the newly built 'Atal Tunel' in Himachal Pradesh. 

A Facebook user shared the video with the caption saying, "Happy holi at Srinagar Atal tunnel."

The video is also doing rounds on Twitter claiming that it shows Holi celebrations. 


The truth behind the claim 

In our investigation, we found this claim to be false. The viral video has no connection to Holi and dates back to 2018 when Atal Tunnel was not even built.

With the help of reverse image search, we found similar visuals uploaded on a YouTube channel in June, 2020 with the title, "Colorful Fireworks at The King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture khobar." 

We further found the same video on YouTube, dated 20 October 2018 title, "Ithra fireworks Display in Saudi Aramco."

Taking a cue from this and on performing a keyword search, we found a tweet by Prince Abdullah bin Khalid al Saud of Riyadh who had shared part of the viral clipping on October 28, 2018. He had captioned the video as, “Beautiful daytime fireworks show @Ithra in Dhahran”. He further added that this was during Creativity Season “Tanween”, the largest creativity event in the region 17 days event.  Prince Abdullah is a visiting research fellow at the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation (ICSR) at King’s College, London.

The building seen in the viral video is the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture, also known as Ithra and is situated in Saudi Arabia’s Dhahran city. According to an October 20, 2018, report by Arab News, Ithra had organised “Tanween”, a 17-day gathering of the brightest and most creative minds of the country.

Below is the comparison between the screengrab from the viral video and an image of Ithra available on Google Maps. 

Clearly, a video of an event in Saudi Arabia is being falsely shared as to show Holi celebrations in India.

In conclusion, a video from Saudi Arabia dating back to 2018 from an event is being shared with the false claim that it shows Holi celebrations in India. 

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