Skip to main content

Did PM Modi Comment On President's Skin Colour? A Fact Check

A video of Prime Minister Narendra Modi criticising Sam Pitroda, the former chairman of the Indian Overseas Congress, over alleged racist remarks, has been altered and shared to falsely claim that Modi called President Droupadi Murmu dark skinned.

In a May 2, 2024, interview with The Statesman, Pitroda while trying to give an analogy for India’s diversity said that people from different regions of India resemble Chinese, Arab, White, and African races. He emphasised that despite these differences, Indians have lived together harmoniously for 70-75 years. After this interview, Pitroda was criticised for his remarks, and the Congress party distanced itself from his comments. On May 8, Congress leader Jairam Ramesh announced that Pitroda had resigned from his position in the Indian Overseas Congress.

In 15 seconds video, Modi can be heard saying, “Those who have black skin, they are all from Africa. Droupadi Murmu is also African, and because she has dark skin that’s why she should be defeated”.

The viral video is also being shared on Facebook with the same false claim.

FACT-CHECK

BOOM found that the viral video has been cropped from a longer video of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech and has been doctored to change its meaning. In the full speech, Modi criticised Sam Pitroda for alleged racist remarks and claimed that Congress opposed President Droupadi Murmu’s candidature because of her skin color. The viral clip has been culled from a video posted on May 8, 2024 by BJP’s official YouTube channel. From the 44 minutes timestamp, Modi can be heard saying, “I got to know that there is an uncle in America who is the philosophical guide of ‘Shehzada’ and just like the third umpire in cricket this ‘Shehzada’ takes advice from the third umpire. This philosophical uncle said that those who have black skin are from Africa. This means that you are abusing several people in the country on the basis of their skin colour.”

The viral clip has been culled from a video posted on May 8, 2024 by BJP’s official YouTube channel. From the 44 minutes timestamp, Modi can be heard saying, “I got to know that there is an uncle in America who is the philosophical guide of ‘Shehzada’ and just like the third umpire in cricket this ‘Shehzada’ takes advice from the third umpire. This philosophical uncle said that those who have black skin are from Africa. This means that you are abusing several people in the country on the basis of their skin colour.” “Then I understood, that looking at the color of the skin, they (Congress) assumed that Droupadi Murmu is African, and because her skin color is black, that’s why we (Congress) should defeat her,” he further alleged.

The part before this has been edited out of the viral video to make the false claim that Modi called Murmu dark skinned. The full speech can be seen here.

(This story was originally published by BOOM, and republished by NDTV as part of the Shakti Collective)

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)