A video of a group of Muslim demonstrators raising slogans outside a mosque is making the rounds on social media. It has been claimed that Muslims staged a demonstration in Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh after they were stopped from offering prayers on the street.

Zee Uttar Pradesh Uttarakhand made the same claim in one of its broadcasts. The outlet reported that there was sloganeering in Saharanpur after Muslims were not allowed to offer prayers on the road. (Archive link)

In its live broadcast, News18 Uttar Pradesh Uttarakhand claimed that Muslim devotees created a ruckus outside the Jama Masjid in Saharanpur.

‘ABP Ganga’ claimed during one of its broadcasts that worshippers started shouting slogans against the police outside the Jama Masjid after the administration prevented them from offering prayers on the road.

Newsroom Post’s Ashish tweeted this video claiming that a group of locals clashed with the administration. In a now-deleted tweet, Rahul Roshan, CEO of pro-BJP propaganda website OpIndia, retweeted the tweet, adding, “Faithfuls are driven by pious spiritual feelings, not political muscle flexing.” (Archive link)

Navbharat Times editor Alok Kumar, journalist Shivam Pratap of Zee News, Sudarshan News journalist Rajat Mishra, and News Nation’s Amit Chaudhary also amplified the claim on Twitter. Dainik Jagran, Sudarshan News Uttar Pradesh, VK News were also among the outlets promoting this claim. The footage is also widespread on Facebook and Twitter.

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Fact-check

The official Twitter handle of the Saharanpur Police issued a statement by SSP Akash Tomar in connection with the viral video. It reads, “The Alvida Namaz prayers at Jama Masjid were completed safely. Following that, when people were returning after offering prayers at the mosque, some media persons asked them provocative questions during which some young boys created a ruckus. But the situation was later resolved. It is now calm and normal. There has not been any dispute here. I’m at the scene with the District Magistrate and administrative officers and the law and order situation is normal. Misleading and fake news is being circulated by certain media channels. A notice will be issued against them by the administration and clarification will also be sought.”

After performing some keyword searches, we found a tweet dated April 28 containing an announcement about the prayer on the letterhead of Waqf Jama Masjid Kalan. This tweet was posted by Tasleem of ETV Bharat Urdu. It reads, “On April 29, the Juma Alvida Namaz will be offered only inside the Jama Masjid, not on the streets and markets. Please proceed to the mosques in your locality for the Juma Alvida Namaz.” (Archive link)

We spoke to a local journalist regarding this matter who sent us a video statement issued by the Imam of Jama Masjid Saharanpur, Mohammad Arshad Gora. He says that the Alvida Namaz prayers were carried out without any issues. When the worshippers were exiting the venue after the prayers, a camera person asked questions that angered the crowd and people started shouting slogans. They were sent home after some persuasion. The administration managed the entire situation very well, and all the work was completed peacefully.

Alt News also spoke with another journalist who was present at the scene. On the condition of anonymity, the journalist revealed that the news being broadcast on social media and some channels is not true. “Like every year, this year also the Jama Masjid in Saharanpur was crowded as people came to offer prayers. However, there is not enough space inside the mosque. Since there is a fixed time for the prayer, the members of the mosque committee asked the devotees standing outside to return to the mosques in their localities to offer prayers. And the people went back peacefully without any protest. However, after the prayers, some news channels asked provocative questions to those exiting mosque, which led to the sloganeering. However, the matter was resolved within 7-8 minutes and the police took control of the situation. It was not a big issue at all,” said the journalist.

To sum it up, devotees in Saharanpur did not raise chants after the administration “prohibited them from offering prayers on the road”. The slogans were raised after certain news personnel allegedly asked “provocative” questions to devotees exiting the mosque. According to the police and local journalists, the matter was resolved within minutes.

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About the Author

Abhishek is a journalist at Alt News.