Photos of a Muslim shrine or mazar being demolished with a JCB machine have been shared with the claim that the structure was illegal and it was torn down in Uttar Pradesh’s Govardhan Parikrama Marg. BJYM UP social media head Richa Rajpoot shared the images hailing UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath.

It is noteworthy that these images are being shared against the backdrop of Ram Navami violence reported in several states. There were videos of a mazar being demolished in Haryana and state governments in Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat razing down houses of people accused of being involved in the violence.

The images were also shared by BJP supporters on Twitter.

They are widespread on Facebook with the identical claim that an illegally constructed mazar was demolished by CM Adityanath in Govardhan Parikrama Marg.

Fact-check

We first performed reverse image searches on Google and Yandex and found tweets dating back to 2020 carrying the same images and claim.

We then performed a keyword search on Google and found a report by The Times of India dating back to October 2018 reporting on the removal of “encroachments” including temples from Giriraj Parvat and Govardhan Parikrama areas of Mathura district, pursuant to an order by the National Green Tribunal. Interestingly, the TOI article mentions that “the order further stated that no “samadhi” (grave) falling in the existing land is to be removed”.

We also found a video report by Neo News covering the demolition of mazars in Govardhan Parikrama area.

It is pertinent to highlight that the video report states that pursuant to the NGT order, the PWD had also carried out the demolition of around five temples of varying sizes in the same area.

Keeping the time frame of these reports in mind, we performed a keyword search on Twitter using advanced search filters and found tweets with the same viral images dating back to November 2018.

Thus, the images are four years old.

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About the Author

Nilofar Absar is a lawyer by training and a storyteller by nature who takes a keen interest in the lives of people belonging to South Asian diasporic communities.