Recently, a claim has been making the rounds on social media that the trustee of Mumbai’s famous Siddhivinayak Temple is a man named Salim, while the president of the Tirupati Balaji Mandir Samiti is Chandrashekhar Reddy, a Christian. Those circulating the claim are questioning why the trustees of Hindu places of worship are not Hindus. Twitter user ‘Pawan Pandey (Nationalist)’ tweeted the same. (Archive link)

Twitter user Suresh Sharma also posted the claim.

A page titled ‘Virat Hindu Samagam VHS‘ shared the message on Facebook.

It is being circulated widely across Facebook and Twitter, and was shared on a Facebook group called ‘We support Arnab Goswami sir‘.

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Siddhivinayak Temple

Aadesh Bhandekar is the Chairman of the Siddhivinayak Temple. There is no individual named Salim in the Board of Trustees, according to the temple’s website. Bhandekar is also associated with the Shiv Sena. He contested the Maharashtra Assembly elections in 2009 from the Mahim constituency in Mumbai. Apart from this, he has worked as a Marathi actor.

Bhandekar told The Lallantop, “No person named Salim is a trustee of the Board of the Siddhivinayak Temple. There is no Muslim member on our Board. This claim is completely fake. There never was a Muslim member on the Board of Trustees.”

Tirupati Balaji Temple

There is nobody named ‘Chandrasekhar Reddy’ in the list of trustees found on the website. YV Subba Reddy is the Chairman of the Tirupati Balaji Temple Board.

We discovered that the claim about Subba Reddy being a Christian was also circulated when he was made the Chairman of Tirupati Balaji Temple Board. On March 6, 2020, News18 reported, “When YV Subba Reddy was made Chairman of the Tirupati Temple by Chief Minister YS Jaganmohan Reddy, there were allegations that Subba Reddy was a Christian, and therefore could not be given this post. However, Subba Reddy denied this and later clarified that he was not a Christian.” The speculation around his religious identity began when he went to the prayer meeting of a church in Tangutur.

Madhu Kishwar, who is known to spread misinformation on social media, also shared the claim about Subba Reddy’s alleged Christian identity in June 2019. Following this, he shared a screenshot of an article titled, “I have been a Hindu right from my birth: Subba Reddy”. Alt News had earlier published a fact-check report on the false claim by Kishwar.

The claim that a trustee of Siddhi Vinayak Temple is Muslim and the president of Tirupati Balaji Temple is Christian is completely false.

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About the Author

Kinjal Parmar holds a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology. However, her keen interest in journalism, drove her to pursue journalism from the Indian Institute of Mass Communication. At Alt News since 2019, she focuses on authentication of information which includes visual verification, media misreports, examining mis/disinformation across social media. She is the lead video producer at Alt News and manages social media accounts for the organization.