A photo of an ISKCON temple near the accident site of a horrific train collision in Odisha is viral with a false claim that it shows a mosque. Several Hindu right-wing social media users have used the photo, which shows an arrow pointing to the structure, to falsely insinuate that the Muslim community might be behind the accident.
BOOM found the image shows an ISKCON temple beside the railway track near the Bahanaga Bazar station in Balasore, not a mosque as claimed by the viral posts.
At least 288 people have lost their lives in a devastating triple train accident on June 2, 2023 leaving a pile of coaches on the railway track. Hundreds of passengers who suffered major injuries but survived the accident were sent to the nearby hospitals by the NDRF team along with local rescuers. A railway official told BBC that the Coromandel Express derailed, hit a stationary goods train and its coaches hit the running Horwah Superfast Express causing one of the worst accidents in the history of Indian Railways.
The picture is being shared with a Hindi caption that translates to, "The train accident happened on Friday and there is a big mosque present at the accident spot. Rest, you are wise."
(Original Text in Hindi: ट्रेन हादसा शुक्रवार को हुआ है और हादसे की जगह एक बड़ी मस्जिद है बाकी आप समझदार हैं)
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BOOM found the claim that a mosque is immediately adjacent to the accident site is false. The structure highlighted by an arrow in the viral posts actually shows an ISKCON temple.
We found several news reports mentioning that the accident took place near the Bahanaga Bazar station in Odisha's Balasore district.
We then tried to look for pictures clicked at the accident site and compared those to the viral image. However, we found in other pictures that the building highlighted in the viral image does not look like a mosque, but shows a temple.
We also found drone footage of the site published by news outlets in their reports about the accident. The video from 0.12 timestamp clearly shows the structure is a temple and not a mosque.
BOOM also got in touch with a local journalist who visited the area and confirmed that the structure is in fact an ISKCON temple. The local journalist sent us visuals of the area showing the temple and also videos of the inside of the temple, where currently construction work is ongoing.
A video from the area shows how the structure located next to the railway tracks, where the accident occured, is a temple, with the design on the top spire clearly indicating the same.
The local journalist confirmed with the locals that the basement of the ISKCON temple is being used as a temporary sleeping quarters by the police personnel present at the accident spot.
We then geolocated the Bahanaga Bazar station area in Odisha where the train accident occured on Google Earth and found geographical similarities in the visuals.
Here is a comparison between the Google Earth visuals and a picture from the accident site.
The images of the temple can be seen on Google Maps.
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