A video of a group of children performing a play onstage has been circulating widely on social media. In the 30-second clip, a boy removes the crown from a sari-clad girl’s head. Next, another female student standing nearby places a white cloth over her head. After this, all the children including the girl in the sari start praying namaz. While sharing this clip many are claiming that in a school in Lucknow namaz is being offered after the removal of the crown from Bharat Mata’s (Mother India’s) head.
Sudarshan News tweeted the video and wrote, “Bharat ma’s (Mother India’s) crown removed, and has been replaced with hijab.” (Archived link)
भारतमाँ के सिर का मुकुट हटा कर पहना दिया हिजाब। pic.twitter.com/kLXZkcRQZm
— Sudarshan News (@SudarshanNewsTV) August 15, 2022
BJP worker Abhijat Mishra also tweeted the video and urged Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath to take cognizance of the matter. (Archived link)
Journalist Hemendra Tripathi tweeted the footage claiming it to be of a school in Malviya Nagar, Lucknow, in which Bharat Mata’s (Mother India’s) crown was removed and hijab was offered to her. He also called it a tasteless mockery of Bharat Mata (Mother India) on August 15. (Archived link)
Jitendra Pratap Singh of Sudarshan News also amplified the visuals with a similar claim. (Archived link)
The video was circulated by right-wing propaganda portal Kreately Media, BJP supporter Upendra Dixit, and others with the same claim. It is also widespread on Facebook and Twitter.
Alt News first examined the Lucknow Police Commissionerate’s Twitter handle, as multiple users had shared the visuals as an incident from Lucknow. We came across a statement issued by the Lucknow Police on the viral video. It reads, “We have received a video through social media, in which a girl has been told to offer namaz after others remove the crown from her head. When we investigated the video, we found that it was recorded at the Shishu Bhartiya Vidyalaya in Malviya Nagar, Thana Bazar Khala. After speaking to the school manager and watching the entire video, we found that this was from a play staged by the children of the school. The message of the play was to not start conflicts in the name of religion and to maintain social harmony. Those tweeting the video are spreading misinformation, and we are working to take serious legal action against them.”
The Lucknow Police also tweeted an extended version of the viral video. It is clearly visible here that the children of the school are dressed up as Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians, staging the different ways in which Bharat Ma (Mother India) is worshipped under each religion. This confirms that this video was clipped and has been shared with a misleading communal angle.
छोटे बच्चों द्वारा सांप्रदायिक सौहार्द हेतु प्रस्तुत नाटिका का सम्पूर्ण वीडियो,जिसको कुछ असामाजिक तत्वों द्वारा गलत ढंग से प्रचारित कर सांप्रदायिक द्वेष फैलाने का अपराधिक कृत्य किया गया है। ऐसे लोगों के विरुद्ध सख्त कानूनी कार्रवाई की जाएगी।@Uppolice https://t.co/eWBatkgnyc pic.twitter.com/oKOmLGVszX
— POLICE COMMISSIONERATE LUCKNOW (@lkopolice) August 15, 2022
Journalist Arvind Chauhan of the Times of India also tweeted a statement by a teacher named Pragati from the Shishu Bhartiya Vidyalaya. She was the one who directed this play. In this video, she dismissed the viral claim circulating online and clarified that she organized the play keeping a harmonious blend of the four religions in mind. The DCP Lucknow (West) also refuted the viral claim in a statement. He added that social media users were spreading misinformation by sharing a clipped portion of the video taken out of context.
DCP West S Chinnappa gave official version on the matter #Lucknow pic.twitter.com/FL7IDN0IoJ
— Arvind Chauhan (Silly Soul | मूर्ख आत्मा) (@Arv_Ind_Chauhan) August 15, 2022
Alt News reached out to Pragati Nigam, the teacher who directed the play. She told us that each of the four religions, Hinduism, Islam, Sikhism, and Christianity had a role in the play. She also shared with us two parts of the play, along with another video that she had used as an inspiration for this play. The play depicts how the British ruled the country by creating religious conflicts. However, Mahatma Gandhi brought all the religions together and saved Mother India from the atrocities of the British. After this, India got independence from the British.
We received the video of the play in two parts, and have stitched together the halves for the convenience of our readers.
The children featured in the viral video copied their choreography from the video given below.
To sum it up, several journalists, politicians and social media handles, including that of Sudarshan News, falsely shared a video of a play on religious harmony by a group of schoolchildren with a communal spin.
Independent journalism that speaks truth to power and is free of corporate and political control is possible only when people contribute towards the same. Please consider donating in support of this endeavour to fight misinformation and disinformation.
To make an instant donation, click on the "Donate Now" button above. For information regarding donation via Bank Transfer/Cheque/DD, click here.