Communal tension broke out in Telangana’s Yadadri Bhongir district on February 22. A group of cow vigilantes clashed with members of the Muslim community at Rachakonda’s Karmanghat area. Telangana Today reported that stone-pelting also took place during the violence. According to The New Indian Express, cow vigilantes staged a protest near a temple, demanding the arrest of those allegedly transporting cows illegally. The report added that some cow vigilantes claimed that they were chased and attacked.

In the backdrop of this, a 30-second clip that shows a Hindu man saying in Telugu — “Namaskar… In case the police don’t come on time, our vehicle… [inaudible] I’m making one request brother… Just now these men came and attacked us. While we were trying to protect gau rakshaks they directly attacked us. CCTV [footage] still hasn’t come out. All of you come to the temple proudly. Jai Shri Ram”, has been shared widely. The video has been shared with the claim that Muslims attacked the Karmanghat Hanuman Temple during the violence. Right-wing propaganda account @squineon posted this video on Twitter and gained over 40,000 views.

Now-suspended @MeghUpdates shared this video as well and gained over 1,000 retweets. This account has shared misinformation multiple times in the past.

Twitter user @SushantSingh113 wrote, “Muslim mob has entered into KARMANGHAT HANUMAN TEMPLE (Hyderabad) and Vandalised temple property and injured 4 Hindus including 2 Women.[sic]”

Temple officials refute the claim

It is worth noting that in the 30-second clip the man doesn’t claim that the temple was attacked. He said that a group of people entered the temple to allegedly attack gau rakshaks. Rachakonda police tweeted a detailed version of the incident. This also doesn’t state that the temple was attacked. It lists the names of seven people who were arrested for allegedly attacking cow vigilantes. As per the police, the purported illegal transportation of cattle was the root cause behind the communal conflict.

The second page of the statement reads, “…the complainant panicked and ran away along with his friends to nearby Hanuman temple Karmanghat to save their lives from the clutches of the accused, meantime the accused persons A1 & A2 called other accused to the spot. These accused chased them into the premises of Hanuman temple, Karmanghat thus outraging the religious feelings and attacked them with intention to kill. Thereby the complainant and his friends have sustained simple bleeding injuries.[sic]”

Readers should note that the statement doesn’t mention that the temple was attacked, instead it states that the “accused chased them (complainant and his friends) into the premises of [the] Hanuman temple”.

The statement adds, “After this incident, huge numbers of Hindu Activists gathered at Hanuman Temple, Karmanghat under Saroornagar PS limits to protest the entry of other religion people into Hanuman Temple, they staged dharna and given slogans against the religion by outraging their believes and sentiments and they obstructed the free flow of traffic on Main Road. In this incident, when the police tried to pacify the unruly mob, they started chanting slogans and pelting stones on the police, as such several police officers got injured including SIP- Madhava Reddy, Vanasthalipuram PS who received severe head fracture injury to his skull and immediately he was rushed to nearest hospital for treatment and complicated Neurosurgery.[sic]”

A day after the incident, Deccan Herald reported that some miscreants spread rumours of an attack on the place of worship. The police told the outlet that the situation was immediately brought under control and no untoward incident was reported. Inspector Mahedar Reddy at Rachakonda Police Commissionerate’s Meerpet police station also refuted the viral claim over a telephonic call with Alt News. He too informed that the Karmanghat Hanuman Temple was not attacked.

We further spoke with the temple’s executive officer A Deepthi who told us, “There was no attack inside the temple. Three to six people caused a ruckus outside the temple premises. These individuals sought shelter at the time. Our security personnel handed them over to the police.” She also wrote a letter to the police that said, “This incident [the communal clash] has nothing to do with the temple.”

The image below is the translated version of A Deepthi’s letter in Telugu (view image). Please note that we have used Google Lens to translate the letter. In addition, we spoke with another official who has been working at the temple for two decades. He also stated that the temple was not attacked.

ETV Bharat Telangana head DI Vijayabhaskar informed that the outlet had reported that the concerned DGP, Anjani Kumar, conducted a review on the Karmanghat incident. Kumar warned that legal action would be taken if any attempt was made to create religious tensions. Anyone with any information about this incident was asked to bring it to the attention of the police. As of now, five cases have been registered and seven people have been arrested under Saroor Nagar PS. They have been shifted to Charlapalli jail.

After communal unrest on February 22 at Telangana’s Yadadri Bhongir district, several social media users amplified the false claim that the Karmanghat Hanuman Temple was attacked by members of the Muslim community. However, temple and police officials, and ground reports have refuted the claim.

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About the Author

🙏 Blessed to have worked as a fact-checking journalist from November 2019 to February 2023.