A massive Hanuman Shobha Yatra took place in Nellore, Andhra Pradesh on April 24.

Photo Credit: Umar Ahmed @Umar_learner

Sunil Deodhar, National Secretary BJP Andhra Pradesh, said Muslims threw stones and beer bottles from an illegal mosque during the procession. He then asked for bulldozer “justice” referring to the demolition of property of Muslims in several parts of the country.

Others who made this claim include Y Satya Kumar, BJP national secretary, and @Pronamotweets.

India Today, News18, Times Now and OpIndia published news reports based on Deodhar‘s tweet.

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Nellore SP and eyewitnesses, including ABVP member, refute the claim

The Sobha Yatra’s scale was unprecedented, as per Nellore-based citizen journalist Umar Ahmed. Alt News connected with him on Twitter. He informed the procession was from MGM Mall to RSR School. The mosque in question is Masjid Al Quddus, situated in between the route.

Ahmed was at the mosque for over 30 minutes when heated exchanges were made between the two communities. But he said, “No stone and beer bottles were thrown.” He also gave a video statement that has been provided below.

Alt News reached out to a member from Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), a right-wing all India student organisation affiliated to the Hindu nationalist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, who attended the rally on foot. The ABVP member refuted Sunil Deodhar’s claim on the condition of anonymity and said, “There was only sloganeering from the mosque. No violence took place.”

In a video statement, Nellore SP CH Vijaya Rao said, “[sic] At one point, they [procession] crossed the mosque. The DJ sounds were a little louder and bike sounds were also made by youth… and chanting the slogan of Jai Shree Ram. At the same time, youths inside the mosque raised ‘Allah Hu Akbar’ and showed some signs. Except that there is no throwing of stones or no clashes or no throwing bottles has happened.”

YSRCP MLA Abbayya Chaudhary seemingly made a contradictory statement as compared to the one given by the SP. It is worth noting that he was not present during the Sobha Yatra nor is he an MLA of Nellore. He hails from Denduluru of West Godavari district.

He said that some people tried to throw stones and disrupt the yatra. He added that Nellore police intervened and no communal incident took place. Alt News spoke with Chaudhary and he said, “I don’t know the full details of the incident. However, during the beginning of the procession, some drunkards tried to pelt stones. I was informed by the police. This incident didn’t take near the mosque.” Readers should note neither police statements nor news reports support his account.

After BJP’s Sunil Deodhar claimed stones and beer bottles were thrown from a mosque at a Shobha Yatra in Nellore, news organisations carried stories on his tweet. Nellore SP and two eyewitnesses, one including from ABVP, refute this claim.

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About the Author

Archit is a senior fact-checking journalist at Alt News. Previously, he has worked as a producer at WION and as a reporter at The Hindu. In addition to work experience in media, he has also worked as a fundraising and communication manager at S3IDF.