A photograph has been shared with the claim that a temple was discovered upon the demolition of a mosque in Karnataka’s Raichur.

Alt News has also received verification requests on its WhatsApp helpline number (+91 76000 11160).

What is the truth?

The image is actually a digital creation of an artist. At the bottom right of the image, a logo with the text “Chandra Colourist” can be seen. We found a Facebook account named Chandra Colourist which had posted the same image on May 8, 2016. To a question posed by a commentator on his post about the location of the temple, the artist stated that it was his digital creation.

When we reverse-searched this image on Google, we found a photograph clicked by a photographer named Meiqianbao on April 12, 2016 based on which Chandra possibly created the above digital creation. When the two images are examined carefully, many features match.

According to the American photo stock agency Shutterstock, the original picture is of Longmen Grottoes -Fengxiang temple stone Buddhas in Luoyang, Henan, China.

The photo which is currently being used to claim that it depicts the remains of a temple discovered upon the demolition of a mosque in Raichur, Karnataka, is an artist’s digital creation. This brought us to our next question – was a temple ever found on the demolition of a mosque in Raichur?

Misleading claim viral since 2016

A Twitter handle @umagarghi had tweeted the same image three years ago.

Several users have tweeted the image with an identical narrative. Ramani Parasuraman was one of the first to post this image on Facebook.

We found a different set of images with almost identical text that circulated on social media in 2016.

Mahesh Vikram Hegde, the founder of the fake news website Postcard News and KP Ganesh, both of whom are followed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Twitter, claimed that during the demolition of a mosque for the purposes of road widening in Raichur, a temple was found.

CONgressMuktBharat had tweeted the identical claim on April 11, 2016, which was retweeted more than 1500 times. A website named Struggle for Hindu Existence also wrote an article with the same narrative.

Alt News contacted the former District Magistrate posted in Raichur when the orders for road-widening were passed in 2016.

He said, “The information that is being shared on social media is untrue. When demolition happened in Raichur, there were some traditional buildings. Ek Minar, which is a very old structure, was one of the buildings that was demolished for road widening. Such old structures have a variety of carvings and it cannot be concluded that it was originally a temple from just one pillar. Some groups tried to make this claim, but when they were countered, they did not pursue with the claim.”

Thus, while the present claim being circulated on social media is using a digital creation of an artist, the original claim in 2016 was based on an incorrect interpretation of the underlying architecture as confirmed by the former DM.

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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.