A video clip showing a large gathering at a madrasa in Uttar Pradesh's Sambhal is viral with right wing Twitter users lashing out saying the event flouted COVID-19 protocols. Netizens have further misidentified the gathering as a Ramzan celebration.
BOOM found that a huge crowd had gathered at the Madrasa Anjuman Muainul Islam on account of the funeral procession of Maulana Abdul Momin Nadvi, a local cleric, who died on April 16, 2021.
Netizens have also compared the video clip, shot in and around the madrasa from atop a building, with the gathering at Kumbh Mela, in Hardiwar, where as many as 2000 people testing positive last week. Several images showing a sea of devotees were viral on social media users berating the government for allowing the religious gathering to take place even as the country reels from a second wave of COVID-19 cases.
According to the recent restrictions announced due to increasing COVID-19 cases by the Uttar Pradesh government on Friday, it imposed a 35-hour curfew from 8 pm on Saturday till 7 pm on Monday; further the guidelines suggested that for funeral services at cremation or burial grounds not more than 20 persons will be allowed.
The same clip was shared by Bollywood actress Kangana Ranaut in a now deleted tweet with the caption, "After kumb mela .... Honourable Prime Minister ji please request to stop Ramzan gathering also."
Click here to view an archive
Clip from Madrasa during the funeral procession of Maulana Abdul Momin Nadvi
BOOM reached out to Shan, a resident of Sambhal, who told us that, "The crowd seen in the video belongs to Anjuman Muainul Islam Madrasa located in the Nakhas area of Sambhal." He further said that Maulana Abdul Momin Nadvi died in Sambhal yesterday, and people had gathered for his funeral prayer.
We also found other clips of the procession on Facebook where the Anjuman Muenul Islam madrasa can be seen in the background with a huge crowd gathered.
We contacted Zaid Nomani, associated with the madrasa who stated, "Maulana Nomani was a very big figure and many people were his admirers. People came from far and wide to attend his funeral. We were constantly appealing to people to maintain social distance. We were also sanitizing the area."
Nomani added, "But it was very difficult for us to manage and control such a crowd. However, we made a chain so that we could reach the cemetery and get the funeral done. We did not get any specific instructions from the police administration. We tried to follow the COVID-19 guidelines but it was not easy to control the crowd."
We also found a post dated April 16, 2021, on this page announcing the Maulana's death.
BOOM also contacted Sambhal Police who confirmed that there was a funeral procession, however, denied granting permission for a gathering.