A few clips of varying duration showing the demolition of a mosque are being shared on social media. The claim is that the said mosque is from Prayagraj’s Saidabad and it was demolished because Pakistani flags were hoisted on it.

The same claim was also made without the accompanying video. One such post was by a fan page of BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra on Facebook titled ‘Sambit Patra BJP‘.

Several Facebook users posted the video as well. Among them is a page titled ‘Kaithal Prime tv‘, which has over 60,000 followers.

Alt News has received multiple verification requests for the video on its WhatsApp helpline (76000 11160) as well as its app.

Fact Check

In the video, we can spot a flag on each of the domes of the mosque. The flag in the middle appears to be green in colour and it bears the symbols of a crescent moon and a star. It is difficult to be sure because of the poor quality of the video.

We began our research by performing a keyword search on Google in order to find more context.

As per one of the media outlets, the mosque in question is Shahi Masjid at Prayagraj’s Handia. This report claimed that the mosque was constructed between the 15th and 16th centuries during the reign of Sher Shah Suri, the founder of the Sur Empire. The location of the mosque can be seen here on Google Maps.

According to a Dainik Bhaskar report, the public works department (Saidabad Bazar under Handia tehsil) led the demolition for the widening of the adjacent road. The notice of demolition was challenged in the High Court due to the mosque’s historical significance. The high court had transferred the case to a civil court. As per the report, the mosque was demolished on the day of the hearing in the lower court.

In August 2022, The Times of India (TOI) had reported, “The Allahabad high court has dismissed a writ petition moved against the proposed removal of Shahi Masjid situated at GT Road in Saidabad, Prayagraj for the widening of the highway, saying that the issue cannot be entertained within the scope of the petition.” The petition against removal was filed by the Intezamia Committee of Shahi Masjid.

TOI reported that dismissing the writ petition filed by the Intezamia Committee, a division bench comprising Justice Mrs Sunita Agarwal and Justice Om Prakash Shukla had observed, “Looking to the stand taken by the authorities in the written instruction supplied today and the enclosure appended therein and in view of the categorical stand of the respondents that the existing construction of Shahi Masjid situated on Prayagraj to Handia stretch of State Highway 106 is an encroachment on the government land namely gata no.402 as per the report of the sub-divisional officer, Handia, Prayagraj, we are not in a position to issue mandamus as claimed by the petitioner herein.”

The report added that the high court had declined to entertain the argument that the mosque existed for a long time, i.e., since before the independence. The court said, “A perusal of the said report indicates that the report is based on the statement made by the people of the locality and there is no data or material which was looked into by the reporting officer before making the above statement with regard to the existence of Shahi Masjid.”

Alt News contacted Md Akbar, a member of the Intezamia Committee of Shahi Masjid for the last two years. He said, “The mosque was demolished on January 9. The social media claim that the Pakistan flag was hoisted atop the mosque is false. We have informed the police of this.” Akbar provided three video clips of the mosque prior to the demolition where the green flag could be seen clearly.

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The flag on the mosque is not the national flag of Pakistan. Here’s a comparison of the image of the flag on the mosque with the national flag of Pakistan.

To sum it up, the social media claim that the Shahi Masjid mosque was demolished because it bore the Pakistani flag is false.

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About the Author

He joined as an intern in 2019. Until June 2022, his work primarily focused on fact-checking. Now his primary responsibilities include catalysing all aspects of organisational growth — from fundraising to development of new projects at Alt News. He attended the Asian College of Journalism (2015-16) and The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda (2012-2015). In past, he worked at The Hindu and Zee Media's WION.
Tipline Bling: archit@altnews.in