Social media posts claiming four temples in Uttar Pradesh's Bulandshahr district were vandalised by Muslims are false with the UP Police ruling out any communal angle to the incident.
On June 1, 2023, several mainstream news outlets reported that four temples in Bulandshahr were vandalised by unknown miscreants leading to the destruction of multiple idols of Hindu deities.
Initial reports further stated that locals from Baral village including some Hindu organisations in Bulandshahr were enraged over the incident and demanded strong against the miscreants. A heavy police presence was deployed in the area to maintain law and order.
A forensic unit was called, and local police started investigating the matter by scanning CCTV footage in the area.
Against this backdrop, several right-wing social media users along with mainstream news and far-right outlets have insinuated that Muslims vandalised the four temples.
Aaj Tak's Sudhir Chaudhary reported about the incident on his show 'Black And White' on June 2, 2023.
He opened the show by saying, "Today, we will analyse the most concerning issue for you on the 'Black and White' first. In our country, even if any fake news about the attack on a mosque or a church comes, the country witnesses a riot. But it is very sad that if temples get attacked, the discussion about it does not happen in our country."
While Chaudhary did not explicitly says Muslims were behind the incident, he gave a break up of Bulandshahr's Hindu and Muslim populations, in the video.
He also referred to Bulandshahr as the area from where a Muslim youth was arrested for stabbing a minor Hindu girl and bludgeoning her to death with a stone in Delhi in May.
However, on June 8, Chaudhary clarified the names of the accused were Hindus and said how a section of Hindus can potentially be a threat to their religion.
Pro Hindutva channel Sudarshan TV's Mahesh Kumar Srivastava tweeted showing the vandalised idols inside the temples and wrote in Hindi saying, "Orgy of Jihadis in Bulandshahr, Uttar Pradesh, Shivling along with pearls of 5 temples were broken. Big question, when will the Taliban terror on Hindu temples stop in India?"
(Original Text in Hindi: उत्तर प्रदेश के बुलंदशहर में जिहादियों का नंगा नाच, 5 मंदिरों की मोतियों सहित शिवलिंग को तोड़ा। बड़ा सवाल, आखिर हिंदुस्थान में कब बंद होगा हिंदू मंदिरों पर तालिबानी आतंक!)
Click here to view the tweet.
The same false and communal claim was made by right-wing Twitter handles.
One such verified Twitter user shared a video and wrote, "More than 12 different idols of Hindu deities were vandalized in Bulandshahr, Uttar Pradesh across four different temples, reportedly over 100 years old, by unknown miscreants. They are attacking our culture, They they area attacking our temples, They are attacking our daughters, Meanwhile we are only allowed to seat in the backseat and watch as our destruction unfolds, or else we will be labelled as intolerant, communal and so on!"
Click here to view the tweet.
BOOM reached out to Bulandshahr Police who confirmed that the incident had no communal angle and that the miscreants are Hindus and not Muslims as claimed by social media posts and insinuated by certain media outlets.
Bulandshahr Police PRO sent us a press release dated June 8, 2023, mentioning the accused as Harish, Ajay, Shivam and Keshav.
The accused on May 31 night got drunk and allegedly desecrated the idols in the temples. The main accused is one Harish, who instructed the others to do the same, according to the press release.
We also found the press release was uploaded on Bulandshahr police's official Twitter handle on June 8, carrying the images of the accused.
BOOM also spoke to Bulandshahr Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Shlok Kumar to verify the communal angle to the incident.
Kumar refuted the claim and said, "There is no communal angle to the incident. The accused are Hindus."
Bulandshahr police also tweeted Kumar's statement about the incident from their official Twitter handle.
The tweet can be seen here.
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