Over 2,000 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Haridwar where more than 35 lakh pilgrims have gathered for the Kumbh Mela. The BJP-led central government has received immense backlash for holding Kumbh Mela this year amid a growing pandemic. Supporters of the party, who had earlier shared a misleading video to claim there are no crowds in Haridwar, have now begun trending the hashtag #BanRamzanGatherings.
Two pictures of mass namaz in public have widely been shared since Ramzan began on April 14.
— Aman Sharma (@amansharmagsp07) April 17, 2021
Image 1: Egypt
A simple reverse image takes one to a report in Arab News where the picture has been used as a file photo and credited to AFP. The caption states that the image was shot in Old Cairo’s historic Amr Ibn Al-Aas mosque. A second search for the photograph on Getty Images revealed that it dates back to June 5, 2019. “Egyptian Muslims perform the Eid al-Fitr prayer, marking the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan,” reads the image description. It was shot by photographer Mohamed el-Shahed.
Image 2: Indonesia
The second image was found in an article on NPR from last year. It said that people gathered to offer namaz in Lhokseumawe, in the religiously conservative province of Aceh, Indonesia despite coronavirus concerns. The photograph is credited to Zik Maulana of Associated Press (AP) which took us to the image uploaded on AP on April 24, 2020.
Muslim gatherings in India
Several videos of Muslim gatherings have also been shared with the hashtag #BanRamzanGatherings. COVID-19 norms were flouted in these gatherings and they should arguably not have been held in the wake of rising cases. But these are unrelated to Ramzan.
Scenes of gatherings from across India..dare not say anything , after all we are Secular.
Hum Nahin Sudhrenge 🙏 pic.twitter.com/Xx48aCjkCY
— ProNaMo (@ProNaMoSeva) April 17, 2021
Another tweet shows the same gathering as seen in the video shared in the above tweet.
— Shri Guruji Golwalkar (@GurujiGolwalkar) April 17, 2021
These videos show protests against Hindutva leader and chief priest at Ghaziabad’s Dasna Temple Yati Narsinghanand Sarawati. A group of Muslim protestors gathered at Nizam Gate Dargah in Ajmer to protest Narsinghanand’s objectionable speech against Prophet Muhammad at the Press Club of India. According to The Times of India, protesters demanded Narsinghanand’s arrest.
— Wajid Hussain (@wajidhussain177) April 16, 2021
Several people have also shared a video of a massive gathering in a mosque where people have neither maintained social distancing nor worn masks.
— Arpita Jana ♓ (@arpispeaks) April 17, 2021
This video is from Uttar Pradesh and shows Salat al-Janazah (Islamic funeral ritual) held on April 16 after the death of Maulana Abdul Momin.
जब दाई ये दीन नें दाई ये अजल को लब्बैक कहा।
हज़रत मौलाना अब्दुल मौमिन नदवी के सम्भल में आख़िरी सफ़र का रूह परवर मंज़र।
Posted by Suhail Ashraf on Friday, 16 April 2021
After pictures and videos of large gatherings in Kumbh Mela went viral, people began sharing visuals of Muslim gatherings as if one justifies the other. The visuals shared do not show Ramzan celebrations in India. Furthermore, videos of protests against Yati Narsinghanand and funeral rites of Maulana Abdul Momin, which also should have been avoided amid rising COVID cases in the country, have been circulated as Ramzan gathering.