During the wee hours of June 1, almost a dozen of idols of Hindu deities in four temples in Bulandshahr, Uttar Pradesh, were vandalized by some miscreants. According to the news reports, the incident happened at Baral village in Bulandshahr district. Ever since the news of the same broke, several users on social media shared a video of the vandalized condition of the idols calling it an attack on Hindus and claiming that this could be an act of the Muslim community. Some news media channels also implied the same.

Twitter user हम लोग We The People (@ajaychauhan41), who frequently shares communal misinformation on social media, shared the said video on June 1 in a Twitter thread made in Hindi. The first tweet can be translated as, “Four temples in Bulandshahr were attacked and idols vandalized last night. Fake reports of attacks on churches/mosques become international news. They start calling Hindus intolerant. When will there be news on the attacks on our temples??” The tweet has been retweeted over 400 times. (Archive)

In the second tweet he mentions that this has been done by ‘Jihadis’, referring to the Muslim community.

Twitter Blue user BALA (@erbmjha), who is followed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, also shared the same video with the following caption: “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 (sic) 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!” The tweet has received over 6 lakh views and has been retweeted over 1,000 times. (Archive)

On June 1, Zee Uttar Pradesh Uttarakhand (@ZEEUPUK) shared on Twitter a video clip of a bulletin where the channel had invited three guests — Alok Awasthi from the BJP, Vivek Pandey from the Samajwadi party and Mohd Atiq from the Indian Union Muslim League — to discuss the matter of idol destruction in four temples in Bulandshahr. The discussion was titled as, “बुलंदशहर में औरंगजेबी गैंग?”, which can be translated to: “Aurangzeb-like gangs in Bulandshahr?”. (Archive)

Sudhir Chaudhuri from Aaj Tak also covered the matter on his show Black and White on June 2. After mentioning that no one yet knows who is behind this act and that the police are looking for the miscreants, at the 2.47 mark of the video Chaudhuri starts providing population data of Bulandshahr on the basis of religion. He further goes on to mention a recent crime where a 20-year-old man, Sahil Khan, had been arrested from the same district for killing his 16-year-old girlfriend by stabbing her 34 times. (Archive)

The Aaj Tak journalist also shared the live stream of the show from the channel with a caption Hindi: “In #Bulandshahar temples Shivling has been broken but there is silence in the country. Now secularism is not in danger?” (Archive)

Several other social media users including Jitendra Pratap Singh, the executive editor of propaganda outlet Sudharshan News, @MithilaWaala and @KreatelyMedia also made posts on the matter with similar claims. Singh, who had directly claimed that ‘Jihadis’ were behind the nuisance, later deleted his tweet.

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Fact Check

A keyword search in Hindi led us to a report by Dainik Bhaskar published on June 8. The headline of the report can be translated as: “Confession by the accused of religious idol vandalization: Damaged idols were being worshipped, we broke them so new ones can be installed, 4 accused arrested”. The report further mentioned that all the four accused were residents of Baral and their names were — Harish Sharma, Shivam, Keshav and Ajay.

We also found a tweet by the Bulandshahr police where SSP Shlok Kumar confirmed that the four accused had been arrested. The SSP also mentioned that this act was spearheaded by Harish Sharma who often hosted the other three and they drank alcohol together. On the day of the act also they were in an inebriated state.

In another tweet, Bulandshahr police shared an official notice of the arrest of the four. The notice also mentions the same names of all four accused as mentioned in the Dainik Bhaskar report.

We found more coverage by some YouTube channels which carried the statement of SSP Shlok Kumar.

After the four accused were arrested Aaj Tak shared an update on the matter that the miscreants were Hindu. Sudhir Chaudhuri reshared the video and tweeted it with the caption, “The ones who vandalized the temples in Bulandshahr are Hindus residing in the same village”.

Therefore, the miscreants who vandalized idols of Hindu deities in four temples at Bulandshahr have been arrested. It was executed by four men all of whom are Hindus.

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