A viral video showing a group of men waving saffron flags atop a mosque, has been viral on social media with captions falsely linking it to the recent communal riots that rocked Karauli district in Rajasthan.
BOOM found that the viral video is not from Rajasthan but is from Uttar Pradesh. We spoke to local police from UP who confirmed the same.
Karauli in Rajasthan was in a grip of communal violence after stones were reportedly pelted on a procession being taken out by some Hindu organisations from a Muslim-dominated neighbourhood. A report published in India Today on April 6, 2022 stated that the members of the Hindu organisations were taking out a procession on the occasion of 'Nav Samvatsar' or the first day of the Hindu New Year.
The report mentions that according to a complaint filed by the Station House Officer of Karauli police station, the violence started when stones were pelted at the rally when it was passing through a Muslim-dominated neighbourhood. The viral video is being shared in this backdrop but is not from Rajasthan.
The 12-second-long clip shows a youth waving a saffron flag from the parapet of a mosque while a crowd chanting 'Jai Shri Ram' cheers him from below.
A Hindi caption with the viral video translates to 'Wow, saffron brave hearts. Saffron flag waved from the same mosque in Karauli from where stones were pelted'.
(Hindi:वाह! भगवा शुरवीरों करौली में जिस मस्जिद से पत्थर फेंके गए थे उसी मस्जिद पर चढ़कर भगवा शेरों ने लहराया भगवा)
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Journalist Rana Ayyub also posted the same video on her official Instagram account with a caption claiming that the incident is from Karauli, Rajasthan.
BOOM went through the replies on one of the tweets by one Arjun Mehar sharing the video in the aftermath of the Karauli violence on April 3.
The Hindi caption of the tweet sharing the video translates to 'The purpose of these Sanghi fanatics is only to cause riots. When someone answers these louts in their language, then the people of this country blame the Muslims. Can these patterns be explained in democratic language? Because they have protection from the government, judiciary and administration of this country'.
We found some replies on the tweet pointing out that the video is not from Karauli but Uttar Pradesh.
Mehar himself replied on the tweet a day after posting the video saying he nowhere claimed that the clip was from Karauli.
The tweet in Hindi translates to 'Note :- I have no where mentioned Karauli in my tweet. I have shared a common thing with this tweet that how such incidents are happening in all parts of the country but the administration and government are not taking any action. The administration is taking action against me for writing the truth on the contrary'.
Taking cue, we did a Twitter search with Hindi keywords 'अर्जुन महर करौली वीडियो' and found a tweet from the Twitter handle of District Collector and Magistrate, Karauli, refuting the claim made with the video. The tweet shares a screenshot of Arjun Mehar's tweet sharing the viral video.
The tweet, in Hindi, translates to '#District Collector Rajendra Singh Shekhawat informed that a video released by #Arjun Mehar on social media is not from Karauli, Collector instructed the police to take strict action against those spreading rumors in this regard! He appealed to the general public to avoid such rumors on social media!'.
BOOM additionally contacted the office of the Superintendent of Police, Karauli. We were told that the video was not from Karauli. However, the cops could not specify where the video was actually from.
We did a search on Facebook with Hindi keywords 'उत्तर प्रदेश मस्जिद भगवा झंडा' and found the same video uploaded on a Facebook page on April 4 with a Hindi caption translating to 'In #Uttar Pradesh's Ghazipur Gahmar, former MLA Sunita Singh entered a mosque with hundreds of followers, entered into a brawl with namazis and waved saffron flag atop the mosque... Remember when atrocities reach its peak, it ends. And the punishment of this sin will be borne by your generations to come. Inshallah'.
(Hindi: #उत्तर_प्रदेश गाजीपुर गहमर में पूर्व विधायक सुनीता सिंह ने सैकड़ों समर्थकों के साथ मस्जिद में घुसकर नमाजियों के साथ मारपीट की और मस्जिद पर भगवा झंडा फहरा कर नाच गाना किया गया..याद रखो जुल्म जब हद से बढ़ता है तो मिट जाता है..! ओर ये जुल्म की सजा जालिमो तुम्हारी नस्ले तक भुक्तेंगी। इन्शाल्लाह)
Several posts on Facebook from the same timeline claim the video is from Gahmar, Ghazipur.
Taking cue, BOOM called Gahmar police station in Ghazipur of Uttar Pradesh.
A police PRO personnel of Ghazipur police told BOOM that the video is from Gahmar. "The incident took place on the evening of April 2. A procession was taken out on the occasion of Hindu New Year. During the procession, some youngsters climbed the stairs of a mosque and waved saffron flags," the PRO told BOOM.
Since locals did not file a complaint officially, police filed a complaint from its side and action is being taken, the police PRO added.
The circle officer from Zamaniya police station confirmed the same.
BOOM also found a One India article which reported the incident. The reports stated that the incident took place during a Ram kalash Yatra taken out on April 2. The procession was taken out marking the Hindu New year.
We also contacted Sunita Singh, the former MLA from Gahmar as several claims have her name mentioned. The article will be updated upon getting a reply.
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