On May 9, Sudarshan News tweeted a video claiming ‘land jihad’ was underway in Haryana’s Kurukshetra. The video shows a man at the ‘Geeta Updesh Sthal’ in Kurukshetra. Pointing the camera to a structure covered with a green sheet, the man claims that an Islamic tomb has been constructed there. The video tweeted by Sudarshan News garnered over 7,000 retweets at the time of writing. (Archive link)

Uttar Pradesh BJP spokesperson Prashant Umrao also tweeted the visuals claiming that a mazar was being built near the temple in Kurukshetra. (Archive link)

Twitter user ‘@Trishul_Achuk‘, journalist Jitendra Pratap Singh of Sudarshan News (archive link) and the handle ‘Akhand Bharat Sankalp’ also amplified the video with this claim.

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The video is widespread on Twitter and Facebook.

Fact-check

The individual in the video identifies the location as the Geeta Updesh Sthal in Kurukshetra. Upon further investigation, Alt News discovered that the video was indeed filmed at this location. The images we found on Google of the Updesh Sthal match the visuals in the clip. It is located in Jyotisar, Kurukshetra.

We contacted Jyotisar Police Station. Station in-charge Ram Sanehi informed Alt News that there is no mazar at the site. He said, “The structure that is being talked about in the video was actually built by a Hindu family and is called a Bhorkha. There is a long-standing custom of erecting Bhorkhas in Haryana to honour the memory of one’s ancestors. A migrant who came to the Updesh Sthal mistook it for a mazar and uploaded the video.” He also stated that this particular Bhorkha was built by the ancestors of a Hindu Pandit named Satpal. After the video footage went viral, Satpal installed the Bhorkha at his farm.

Alt News got in touch with Satpal’s son Vinod Sharma for more information. He explained that it was indeed his ancestors who got the Bhorkha constructed. However, an unknown individual placed a green sheet over it and made a video describing it as a mazar. “The viral video has hurt the sentiments of my family. And in order to not escalate this dispute further, we installed the Bhorkha in our field,” he added.

Jagran reported that after the video went viral, Dr Naresh Bhardwaj, a member of the Green Earth organization, demanded that a case be filed against the individual who made the video for circulating propaganda.

Following this incident, the tomb of an ancient Pir in Jyotisar was demolished. Dainik Bhaskar reported that the tomb was demolished and a saffron flag was erected at the site. The local police registered a case in this matter.

To sum it up, a video of a Hindu Bhorkha (a structure made to honour ancestors) at the Gita Upadesh Sthal in Haryana was falsely described as a mazar and given a misleading communal spin. Sudarshan News aired the video without verification.

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