A few clips of varying duration showing the demolition of a mosque are being shared on social media. The claim is that the mosque is in Saidabad, Prayagraj, and it was demolished because Pakistani flags were hoisted on it.
Twitter user @MrSinha_, who shares misinformation on the platform on a regular basis, made the same claim while tweeting the video on July 11, 2023. He later deleted the tweet. Readers can see a screenshot below:
User Harinder Sikka also made the same claim while sharing this video. He also wrote that the French should learn from Yogi Adityanath how instead of taking down the flag, he got the entire mosque demolished.
सैदाबाद ( प्रयाग ) की एक मस्जिद में पाकिस्तान* का झंडा लहराता मिला ।
योगी जी ने झंडा नहीं उतरवाया !
मस्जिद ही नीचे उतार दी !!* ऐसा लगता है मुगलों का सामना करने वाले महाराणा प्रताप शिवाजी महाराज साक्षात उतर आए हैं योगी जी जिंदाबाद👌👌
आप धन्य हैं बाबा जी 🙏🏽👍👍👍 pic.twitter.com/xn979qNpKw
— 🔥अजय सिंह चौहान(अज्जू भाई)🔥 (@AJJUBHAI2196) March 11, 2023
In fact, the video is viral with similar claims from January 2023.
*योगी बाबा के राज्य में, सैदाबाद प्रयागराज( उ0प्र)* और लगवाओ पाकिस्तान का झंडा😡😂😂👌👇 pic.twitter.com/jhhchXojRK
— Munna _Yadav 💯%FB (@YadavMu91727055) January 12, 2023
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 received multiple verification requests for the video on its WhatsApp helpline (76000 11160) as well as its app.
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 had been constructed between the 15th and the 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.
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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