A screenshot of a Google search page is being widely shared on social media, which shows that the Shirdi Sai Trust has donated Rs 35 crore for Hajj. The search result in the picture features a tweet by the handle ‘@kavita_tewari’ making the same claim on April 20, 2023. Twitter user ‘@Mahende83499386’ also promoted the screenshot and wrote, “Especially those Hindus who visit Shirdi should watch this”. (Archived link)

Twitter user Vinay Shukla also tweeted the picture with a similar claim. (Archived link)

Several other Twitter users and Facebook users posted the picture with a similar claim. Facebook user Abhinav Goswami also amplified the same claim in a Facebook group titled ‘Republic Bharat’, urging others not to donate to Saibaba temples.

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Fact Check

Firstly, we performed a Google search to find out whether the claim was true. However, we could not find any media report to corroborate the claim. It is highly unlikely that the media did not cover the news of a donation of this size.

Next, we examined the website of the Shirdi Sai Trust. Yet, we could not find any information about the organization donating for Hajj either.

In addition, we reached out to the Shirdi Sai Trust. An official from its public relations department speaking on the condition of anonymity said that the social media claim pertaining to the Shirdi Sai Trust donating Rs. 35 crore for Haj was completely false. “The Trust has not issued any such donation.” The official further added, “The CEO of the Trust has taken cognizance of the matter and lodged a complaint with the Shirdi Police.”

This official also shared a copy of the FIR with Alt News. As per the document, Tushar Shelke, PRO of the Shirdi Sai Trust, filed a complaint under Sections 295, 153 (A) and 500 of the Indian Penal Code against those spreading false information against the Trust on social media.

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Furthermore, upon finding out about the tweet circulating this viral claim, we came to know that Twitter user ‘@kavita_tewari’ had deleted her post. It is worth noting that the alleged claim about the donation in this tweet was made without any concrete evidence. While examining the profile of this Twitter handle, we discovered that Prime Minister Narendra Modi also followed this user.

To sum it up, the viral social media claim about the Shirdi Sai Trust donating Rs. 35 crore for Hajj is false. An official from the Trust completely denied this claim. Recently, a video went viral in which some people wearing caps related to Muslim religion were withdrawing money from the donation box. It was claimed that the money donated to the Shirdi Sai Temple was reaching Muslims. In reality, the video was from Bangladesh. Readers can access the detailed fact-check report about this viral video here.

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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.