New Zealand Prime Minster Jacinda Ardern's recent visit to a Radha Krishna temple in Auckland ahead of elections in September is being widely shared on Indian social media with misleading claims that Ardern prayed at the temple after New Zealand passed 100 days without reporting a new COVID-19 case.
Multiple videos showing Ardern at the Radha Krishna temple on August 6, 2020 is doing the rounds on Facebook with misleading narratives.
One such Facebook posts with the video claims, 'New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern visits Hindu Temple after declaring no Covid patients in her country.
The text in the images shared mentions Ardern's visit to the Auckland temple followed by a line stating that "New Zealand marks 100 days free of CORONAVIRUS (sic)".
न्यूजीलैंड की PM देश को कोरोना कोविड19 से मुक्त घोषित करने के बाद हिंदू मंदिर गई।— Phenomenal Ajay (@ajaykum61068972) August 11, 2020
आैर हमारे देश के कुछ #देशद्रोहियों को #राममंदिर बनने से खतरा लग रहा है।
सियावर रामचंद्र की जय 🙏 pic.twitter.com/if80IaueLS
The Hindi text of this tweet translates to: The PM of New Zealand went to a Hindu temple after declaring that the country had become free from COVID-19. And in our country, some traitors feel threatened by the construction of Ram Mandir.
Videos and photos of her visit are also being shared with the claim that Ardern visited the temple to show solidarity with Hindus after the Bhumi Pujan of the proposed Ram temple at Ayodhya on August 5.
The text of the post reads: "On the occasion of Bhoomi Poojan at Ram Janmabhoomi the New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern voluntarily offered prayers at a Hindu temple to show solidarity with India. That's what Modi has done for India."
On the occasion of Bhoomi Poojan at Ram Janmabhoomi the New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern voluntarily offered prayers at a Hindu temple to show solidarity with India....— Divya Saxena Rastogi -दिव्या सक्सेना रस्तोगी (@Divsbabs) August 7, 2020
That's what Modi has done for India pic.twitter.com/BocNGbznQh
New Zealand marked 100 days without reporting community transmission of COVID-19 on August 9. However, the country reported its first COVID-19 case in 102 days on August 11.
BOOM ran a Google search with the keywords "Jacinda Ardern Temple Visit" and found multiple articles by Indian news portals reporting on Ardern's visit to the temple.
This article by Scroll.in features a tweet by the Indian High Commissioner to New Zealand Muktesh Pardeshi.
In the tweet, Pardeshi states that he met Ardern at on Augut 6 at an event organized by Indian Newslink, a New Zealand-based newspaper catering to the south east Asian and Fijian diaspora. He also mentions that Ardern visited the Radha Krishna Mandir.
Some precious moments with Hon. PM of New Zealand @jacindaardern at @indiannewslink event on 6 Aug 2020. She paid a short visit to Radha Krishna Mandir and enjoyed a simple Indian vegetarian meal- Puri, Chhole and Daal. 🙏 pic.twitter.com/Adn25UE1cO— Muktesh Pardeshi (@MukteshPardeshi) August 8, 2020
The Indian Newslink's website features a banner about "The Tenth Annual Indian Newslink Lecture" which was held on August 6. Ardern was the guest speaker for the lecture and spoke on the topic, "My Vision for New Zealand". Indian Newslink uploaded an album of the event on their Facebook page which features a series of photos of Ardern praying at the temple.
The event was held at the Mahatma Gandhi Centre in Auckland. The Mahatma Gandhi Centre is the headquarters of the Auckland Indian Association Inc (AIAI). According to AIAI's website, the Mahatma Gandhi Centre also houses the Radha Krishna Mandir.
Ardern's visit to the temple was part of her participation at the Tenth Annual Indian Newslink Lecture.
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