On April 5, Facebook user Rukhsar, who has over 5 lakh followers, posted a video of men with saffron flags gathered outside a mosque. She wrote, “After BJP-ruled states, Muslims and mosques in Congress-ruled states are also being attacked.” She claimed that during a rally organised by Hindu organisations, miscreants barged into a mosque in Chhattisgarh and raised ‘Jai Shri Ram’ slogans.

 

BJP शासित प्रदेशों के बाद अब कांग्रेस शासित प्रदेशों में भी मुस्लिमों और मस्जिदों पर हमले बढ़ गये है,यह वीडियो छत्तीसगढ़ का बताया गया है जहां हिन्दू संगठनो के कार्यकर्ता रैली के दौरान मस्जिद में घुसे और जय श्री राम के नारे लगाये व उत्पात मचाया।

Posted by Rukhsar on Tuesday, 5 April 2022

The video shows a large number of men dawning saffron attire in front of a Muslim religious structure. A song where ‘Jai Shri Ram’ can be heard in the lyrics is playing in the background. It has been shared by several users on Facebook.

From the Twitter account of one Neha Bharti, the video received close to 1,000 likes.

On April 6, a similar claim was made by YouTuber Faraz Malik on his channel ‘Mera Safar’, which has over 11 lakh subscribers. At 1:30 minutes, the channel claimed that saffron-clad people barged into a mosque in Chhattisgarh and chanted ‘Jai Shri Ram’ slogans. The YouTube video has received over 1.55 lakh views in the past 24 hours.

 

Alt News found that the earliest instance of the video was shared on April 4 by one Subhash Gupta on Facebook.

Fact-check

Chhattisgarh state government’s ‘Chhattisgarh State Fake News Control and Special Monitoring Cell’ shared a WhatsApp post with local journalists that carried a “fake” stamp on the video. However, it did not clarify whether the video was “fake”, meaning that the incident did not take place in Chhattisgarh, or the viral social media claims are incorrect.

Alt News reached out to Umesh Mishra, who is the secretary of the fake news monitoring committee, Chhattisgarh. He said, “The video was being shared with the claim that it is from Chhattisgarh. No other information was given. We feared that it may cause disturbance hence, stamped it fake.” He also said that senior officials in the administration have sought a detailed report about the video.

We went through the comments on Subhash Gupta’s Facebook post and found that he had replied to a user that the video is from Bilaspur in Chhattisgarh.

Upon contacting Bilaspur police, it was found that the video was shot outside Dargah Luthra Sharif which is situated under the jurisdiction of Sipat police station. Inspector Rajkumar Suri of Sipat PS informed us, “Each year Samrat Vikramaditya Samiti organises a huge rally to mark Hindu New Year. This year too it was organised on April 2. During the rally, the vehicle with a DJ music system inadvertently took a turn towards the dargah and the participants of the rally too tailed the vehicle to the dargah.” The officer said that there was an appropriate police bandobast during the rally and no untoward incident took place when the rally passed in front of the dargah, which is revered by people of all faith.

Dainik Bhaskar journalist and former member of Dargah Luthra Sharif committee, Riyaz Atrasi, echoed inspector Rajkumar Suri’s statement. “Though it was the first time that this rally had reached the dargah, reports about mischief or desecration are absolutely false and misleading.” He also said that local Muslims had arranged cold drinks and snacks for the members of the rally.

Mohammed Ibrahim, who owns Baba Book Store situated in the vicinity of the dargah, too confirmed that the rally passed in front of the dargah. “A rally by Bajrang Dal was organised 3-4 days back on the occasion of Hindu New Year. The rally is taken out annually but this was the first time they entered the internal road to the dargah and played ‘Jai Shri Ram’ songs in front of the dargah.”

However, Ibrahim also clarified that the participants did not enter the dargah premises. They stayed for a while in front of the dargah while ‘Jai Shri Ram’ songs were playing and left.

Police statements, ground reports and witness statements corroborate that the dargah wasn’t attacked by Hindu groups but a vehicle with a DJ music system took an inadvertent detour and led the members of the rally in front of the dargah. They did not enter the premises.

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