A Twitter user who goes by the name Retweet Sarkar posted a video of a news report which talked about alleged demolition of 50 temples under the Modi regime. In the 72-second broadcast, a person giving a voice-over can be heard saying, “Violent clashes in Surat after Municipality team tried to demolish a temple late on Tuesday night. The state government has gone on a major demolition drive”. Along with the video, the user tweeted a caption that reads, “Modi demolished 50 Temples. To give the land to Ambani’s.” The video has been retweeted more than 500 times so far.

Fact-check

With a keyword search on YouTube, Alt News found that news report is at least 10 years old and published by NDTV. The anchor introduces the report saying, “Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has a new campaign, to demolish illegal constructions, including temples. The new demolitions have sparked off outrage in the Sangh Pariwar and traditional Modi supporters.”

The November 19, 2008 report talks about the demolition of over 50 temples in the state capital Gandhinagar. According to a statement given by then Collector of Gandhinagar Sanjeev Kumar, the demolition drive targeted all illegal construction and not just religious ones. It has been mischievously clipped to edit out the context and important information which would otherwise suggest that it was during the time when Narendra Modi was Chief Minister of Gujarat.

However, subsequent reports by India Today from November 21, 2008 stated, “Under pressure from the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has put on hold the demolition drive against unauthorised temples in the state capital of Gandhinagar.” The decision reportedly came after then CM’s meeting with Ashok Singhal, who had dubbed him “Aurangzeb” for his temple-razing drive.

A video of a 10-year-old news report on the demolition drive taken by the BJP-led state government in Gujarat was mischievously clipped to remove the context and shared on social media with an attempt to portray it as a recent decision of the central government.

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About the Author

Jignesh is a writer and researcher at Alt News. He has a knack for visual investigation with a major interest in fact-checking videos and images. He has completed his Masters in Journalism from Gujarat University.