Several news outlets on Thursday misreported that a Pakistan flag was hoisted atop a house in Bihar's Purnia district on the occasion of Republic Day. The reports further stated that Bihar Police removed the flag after it created unrest among locals in the area.
BOOM was able to confirm that the flag was not Pakistan's national flag but an Islamic religious flag.
An excerpt from news agency ANI's report on the incident reads, "A Pakistani flag was allegedly hoisted in the Madhubani Sipahi Tola area in Purnia district on Republic Day, the police said, adding that the incident triggered an uproar among locals."
News outlets including India TV, CNN News 18, Bhaskar, Amar Ujala, Live Hindustan, Navbharat Times, Free Press Journal reported the incident and amplified the same false claim. The reports further stated that Bihar Police removed the "Pakistani flag", after it was hoisted.
An excerpt from the article of India TV reads, "A Pakistani flag was reportedly hoisted in the Madhubani Sipahi Tola area in Purnea, news agency ANI reported on Thursday. The absurd incident took place on the day when people across the county unfurled tri-colour to celebrate the 74th Republic Day of India."
Right leaning website The New Indian also reported about the same.
In a news bulletin the CNN News 18 anchor said, "In a Republic Day shocker, that we bring to you, from Bihar... where a Pakistani flag was unfurled on Republic Day."
The New Indian shared a video showing a policeman taking down the flag, claiming that the national flag of Pakistan was hoisted on the roof of a house in Bihar's Purnia by unknown persons.
Visuals from News 18 were also tweeted by journalist Anupam Trivedi with the caption, "#BiharPolice removed a Pakistani flag from a house in Purnia, on the day when country was celebrating #RepublicDay2023"
BOOM analysed the videos where visuals of the flag being hoisted can be seen and we were able to ascertain that it does not show the Pakistani flag. The flag in the video shows a design on the white border, which is not seen in Pakistan's flag.
We then looked up for news reports on the incident and found a Times of India report where the police denied the allegations and said that no such flag was hoisted, as reported by several media outlets. An excerpt of the TOI report reads, "According to police, a religious flag was hoisted at a house owned by Mohammad Mubarakuddin which is located adjacent to the local mosque." The police further told the news outlet that the flag is a religious one and was hoisted in the residence almost a month ago.
BOOM reached out to Surendra Kumar Saroj, SDPO, Purnia. "We have debunked the claims viral with the video; the flag does not resemble any country's national flag," Surendra Kumar Saroj, Sub-Divisional Police Offer, Purnia said. "It is an Islamic flag and police has investigated and found the same," he added.
We were also able to source an image of the flag that was hoisted atop the house in Purnia through a local resident.
BOOM then compared the flag visible in the viral videos with the flag image received. It is clear that the flag belongs to an Islamic religious sect and not Pakistan. Below is a comparison of the same flag that was hoisted in Purnia and the Pakistan national flag.
We then searched online and found that the flag represents the Dawat-e-Islami, an Islamic organisation; here are images of flags with similar pattern. The crescent moon and star motif seen in the flag is a common in all Islamic flags.
BOOM has fact-checked several images and videos showing Islamic flags which have been mistaken for Pakistan's flag. Read more here.
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