Video of monkeys in Thailand falsely linked to India’s controversial Ayodhya temple


A video of a troop of monkeys brawling on a street in Thailand has been viewed thousands of times in Facebook posts that falsely claim they were heading to a contentious Hindu temple built on the ruins of a mosque in India. The video was shared online in India’s neighbour Bangladesh, which is home to a Hindu minority of about 17 million people.

The clip circulated online just two days before Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated a contentious Hindu temple in the town of Ayodhya in north India’s Uttar Pradesh state.

The Ram Temple was built on the ground where a mosque stood for centuries before it was torn down by Hindu zealots in 1992 following a campaign backed by Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.

“As the news of Ramlala’s Idol reaching Ayodhya starts to break out, a large number of monkey armies have been seen heading towards Ayodhya,” reads the Bengali-language caption of a Facebook post shared on January 20, 2024.

The video, which shows dozens of monkeys running along a road, been more than 2,600 views.

The caption continues: “A wonderful scene—As Ramlala’s Pran Pratishtha (inauguration) ceremony is approaching, surprising incidents are happening in Ayodhya.”

The video was also viewed tens of thousands of times in similar Facebook posts here and here.

In reality, the footage was filmed in Thailand.

Monkey brawl

A keyword search on Google found a similar longer version of the video published by Britain’s Guardian newspaper on its website and YouTube channel on March 13, 2020 (archived links here and here).

The video was titled “Hungry monkeys brawl over food as coronavirus hits tourism in Thailand”.

According to the video’s description, the monkeys were filmed brawling over a pot of yoghurt in the central city of Lopburi, northeast of Bangkok.

“A fall in tourist numbers amid the Covid-19 outbreak has resulted in far fewer people offering them food,” reads the description.

AFP reported in February 2020 that the coronavirus pandemic had hit Thailand’s tourism industry hard (archived here).

The video in the false posts corresponds with The Guardian’s video from its 29-second mark.

Below is a screenshot comparison of the video shared in false posts (left) and The Guardian’s video (right):

AFP found roadside buildings and signs in the posts that correspond with Tha Hin in Lopburi (archived here).

Below is a screenshot comparison of the video shared in the false posts (left) and Google satellite image (right) with similar objects and signs highlighted by AFP:

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