A picture showing provocative hoardings with statements attributed to Muslims is viral on social media with claims falsely linking the incident to West Bengal and Chhattisgarh.
The hoardings display photographs of Shahi Imam of Delhi's Jama Masjid, Syed Ahmad Bukhari, Islamic preacher Maulana Zakir Naik and Muslim cleric Noor ur Rahman Barkati. Pictures of the hoardings, along with inflammatory anti-Hindu statements are viral on social media with various claims.
BOOM found that the hoarding had been put up on the boundary wall of a school at Kunda, Pratapgarh in Uttar Pradesh. We spoke to a police official at the Kunda police station who confirmed to us that the hoardings were displayed at Kunda. "However, it is too early to say who had put the hoardings up as investigation is underway now," the inspector told BOOM.
The three hoardings shown in the viral image have inflammatory anti-Hindu statements in support of cow slaughter and to incite Hindus to leave the Muslim majority areas in states like Uttar Pradesh, Hyderabad, Kerala, West Bengal and Assam.
The picture has been shared on Twitter with a Hindi caption translating to, 'Those raising slogans of Hindu-Muslim bonhomie, read these hoardings. These hoarding have been put up in Chhattisgarh's Kunda. The video is in the thread below'.
The Twitter user has also tagged Chhattisgarh and Raipur police in the post.
(Hindi: हिन्दू मुस्लिम भाई-भाई के नारे लगाने वाले, इन होर्डिंग्स को जूम कर के पढ़ो. छत्तीसगढ़ के कुंदा में लगे हैं ये होर्डिंग्स! इसका वीडियो नीचे थ्रेड में है)
The picture is viral on Facebook with a Hindi caption linking the hoardings to West Bengal.
BOOM found a tweet regarding the incident from the official Twitter handle of the Pratapgarh police on August 12.
The tweet has a statement from superintendent of police, Pratapgarh. The SP can be heard saying that the hoarding had been put up by 'mischief mongers' in Pratapgarh's Kunda. They were immediately removed and cases have been filed.
BOOM spoke to a police official at the Kunda police station who told us that the matter is being investigated. The inspector told BOOM, "Posters were put up on the boundary wall of a school. All the posters were removed. Our local intelligence is also looking into the matter. A case has been filed against unknown persons and search is on for the perpetrators."
The police personnel also told us that right now the department cannot tell whether the posters were put up by persons belonging to the Muslim or Hindu community as the matter is being investigated. "FIR has been filed under various sections of Indian Penal Code including Section 153 A (promoting enmity between different groups)," the inspector told BOOM.
BOOM also checked the quotes attributed to Bukhari, Barkati and Naik in the viral post. While we found that similar statements have been attributed to them in the past on several social media pages, there was no news report corroborating the attributions.
Quote attributed to Syed Ahmad Bukhari
The hoarding in the viral post attributes a statement to Bukhari according to which Hindus in Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, West Bengal, Hyderabad and Assam should leave these states as the Muslims were in majority here.
We found that the same quote had been shared from a Facebook page Hindu Hun Mai in January 2014.
BOOM has also reached out to Syed Ahmad Bukhari for a comment. The report will be updated once we hear from him.
Quote attributed to Noor ur Rahman Barkati
The quote attributed to Barkati, a Muslim cleric from West Bengal, reads that Muslims will continue to slaughter cows and they are not afraid of any government as their population is now quite big. The quote further reads, "We don't argue like Hindus, we directly slaughter."
Barkati is a controversial figure and has been in news for his statements more than once. In 2017, he had been sacked from the position of Shahi Imam of the Tipu Sultan mosque in West Bengal after his 'Anti-India statement', reported News 18.
BOOM found a video from 2010 where Barkati can be seen claiming that Muslims won't stop cow slaughter. He dares the government to stop them from it. "We don't argue, we do it (cow slaughter) by our strength. We are not afraid of the government or their forces," Barkati can be seen saying.
View the video here.
BOOM checked Facebook with the quote attributed to Barkati as keywords and found several posts from 2012 which had the same statement.
The post includes disturbing picture viewers discretion is advised.
Quote attributed to Zakir Naik
The quote attributed to controversial Muslim preacher Zakir Naik claims him to have said that Muslims have ruled over India for 1100 years and it's out of this fear that Hindus raise slogans of Hindu-Muslim unity.
We did a search on Facebook with the statement attributed to Naik as keywords and found the same statement in posts as early as 2014 on pages including शंखनाद धर्म और राजनीति, हिंदुत्व - अ राइजिंग and others.
A radical Islamic preacher and televangelist, Zakir Naik is known for his controversial statements. He had left India in 2016 and is wanted by the Indian authorities in connection with alleged money laundering and 'hate speech' cases.
BOOM could not independently verify whether the controversial statements displayed on the hoardings were made by the individuals they have been attributed to. However, we were able to ascertain that the hoardings came up in Uttar Pradesh and not Chhattisgarh or West Bengal as it has been claimed.
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