A video of a student reciting the Islamic call to prayer (azaan) during a programme organised as part of 'Gunotsav', an evaluation drive of government schools, in Assam's Jorhat, is being falsely shared as Jharkhand on social media.
The video shows a student rendering the azaan from a raised platform in a school premise, as teachers and students stand in queue.
The video is viral in the backdrop of news reports about schools in Jamtara district of Jharkhand being given holidays on Fridays instead of Sundays, citing the Muslim population in the institutes. In an unrelated development, several teachers posted in schools of Garhwa district of the state had earlier complained to local administration about the imposition of Sharia and Islamic practices on children during prayer time. The National Commissioner for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) issued a notice to the district administration asking about the action taken following the incident. Read here.
BOOM found that the video is from Hemlai Gyan Bikash primary school in Assam's Jorhat. We reached out to Pranab Arandhara, head teacher of the school, who corroborated the incident.
The video has been shared with the caption, "In a village in Jharkhand where 75 percent are Muslims, it is mandatory that Hindu children also pray Islamic prayers. What is happening?" The video has also been edited to include a similar text in Hindi.
(Original Text in Hindi: झारखंड 75% मुस्लिम जनसंख्या के गाँवकी स्कूल में हिंदू छात्रोंको भी जबरन अल्लाहकी इबादत-इस्लामिक राज्य आ रहा है ???! झारखंडके 75% मुस्लिम जनसंख्याके गाव की स्यूला हिंदू छात्रोंको भी अल्लाह की खिदमत दैनिक जागरण)
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The same video was sent to BOOM's helpline number (+91 7700906588) for verification.
BOOM performed a reverse image search on one of the keyframes from the viral video and found a tweet with the same clip uploaded on June 6, 2022.
The tweet text reads, "This is reported to be Gyan Bikash LP School of Mariano, NaKachari, Jorhat. What is this happening is very alarming & need to be investigated thoroughly." (sic.)
The user also shared a photograph of a show cause notice issued by the Assam government's education department.
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According to the reports, the incident took place in Hemlai Gyan Bikash primary school as part of 'Gunotsav', organised by the Assam government. 'Gunotsav' is a process of periodical evaluation of government schools by officials and ministers. In the Gunotsav drive, a team of officials visit premises of the schools to assess the quality of elementary education.
We reached out to Pranab Arandhara, head teacher of the school, who corroborated the video and clarified that the authorities had served the school administration a show cause notice for the same.
Additionally, in a video report from the Assamese news outlet Time8 News uploaded on YouTube on June 4, 2022, Arandhara can be heard saying, "It was part of Gunotsav yesterday. We welcomed the Nodal Officer and others. The students performed physical exercises, took their pledge; then one girl sang a Rabha Sangeet (song of Kalaguru Bishnu Prasad Rabha). After that, suddenly another student took the stage and recited the Azaan."
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