A CCTV clip is circulating widely on social media. Captured on February 4, 2022, the footage features three people committing a robbery at a temple. It has been claimed that three men named Mohammad, Yusuf, and Rajak robbed the Mahadev Temple in Kutch. The message accompanying the video also instructs Hindus to ‘wake up’. Twitter user Santosh Mishra made a similar claim while tweeting the video. At the time of writing, the video had garnered over 8,000 views. (Archive link)

Twitter user ‘Vishwas Rajput’ also tweeted the clip with the same claim. (Archive link)

Several users promoted the video and accompanying message on Facebook and Twitter.

The footage was also uploaded on YouTube as a robbery in Dahod, a city in Gujarat.

Fact-check

Alt News found that two separate incidents of robberies in Gujarat were linked to manufacture a false, anti-Muslim claim.

Viral video

We performed a Gujarati keyword search, which led us to a few news reports. On February 6, 2022, ‘MV news gujarati’ reported that the video was filmed in the Gomteshwar Mahadev Temple in the Odav village located in Detroj. It states that the robbers stole approximately three kilos of silver. VTV Gujarati channel also shared the video on its Instagram page, reporting that the incident occurred in a temple located in Ahmedabad’s Detroj area.

According to Divya Bhaskar, the incident took place on February 4. The temple’s priest filed a complaint in the matter at the Detroj Police Station. The police launched an investigation using the footage and found that items worth Rs 5.59 lakh were stolen. However, none of these reports contains information about any suspects or the individuals responsible for the looting.

Alt News reached out to Detroj Police Station for more information on the case. Investigating officer BS Jha revealed, “We have examined the CCTV footage in its entirety, and questioned over 20 people. However, we have not been able to come up with the suspects’ names until now.”

Details of the Kutch robbery

The viral message states that the Makeshwar Mahadev Temple in Kutch was plundered. Upon further investigation, Alt News came across a February 18 article by Kutch Uday which mentions that a string of robberies carried out in temples in Kutch’s Anjar recently came to light. The investigating team arrested three individuals using the CCTV footage. They have been identified as follows:

1) Ramnubhai Arjanbhai Kher

2) Samandarkhan Chandkhan Pathan

3) Kalpesh Prakashbhai Nat

TV9 Gujarati also covered the robberies in Anjar in a video report. The premises of this temple are shown in the broadcast. However, they do not resemble the location seen in the viral clip.

An article by Gujarati Connection contained a statement from SP Kutch (East) Aalok Kumar. According to the police, six people were part of the gang that committed the robberies, of which three had already been arrested. They also identified Gopal Nat, who is currently absconding, as the mastermind of the operation. Therefore, only one of the three individuals nabbed by police in the Anjar incident is Muslim. However, it is being claimed on social media that all the suspects arrested in connection with the robbery are Muslim, which is completely false.

SP Kutch (East) also tweeted a press release about the arrests made in Anjar. The press release informs that the gang looted a temple located inside the Shri Sandhya Giri Bapu Ashram. The gang looted silver items worth Rs 3,57,200.

To sum it up, two separate robbery incidents in Ahmedabad and Kutch were given an anti-Muslim spin online. It was falsely claimed that Muslim culprits robbed a Hindu temple. The purported names of the accused are fictional and have no connection to those nabbed in the real case.

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About the Author

Kinjal Parmar holds a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology. However, her keen interest in journalism, drove her to pursue journalism from the Indian Institute of Mass Communication. At Alt News since 2019, she focuses on authentication of information which includes visual verification, media misreports, examining mis/disinformation across social media. She is the lead video producer at Alt News and manages social media accounts for the organization.