More than 6,000 people from across the country are expected to be present at the inauguration of the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya on January 22, 2024. Against this backdrop, a video has been doing the rounds on social media depicting rows of toilet seats in a makeshift public restroom. The claim accompanying the video clip suggests that the public toilets have been constructed in Ayodhya without walls or any kind of coverings, specifically for the upcoming temple event.
Retired Indian Air Force pilot Rajiv Tyagi shared the video, stating that open toilets had been arranged for visitors to Ayodhya. (Archived link)
Arrangements for visitors to Ayodhya – two rows of open Indian toilets, directly splashing their contents into an open deep trench latrine… 😎 pic.twitter.com/Ry8Fyt3eMI
— Rajiv Tyagi (@rajivtango) January 3, 2024
Another satirical post from a Twitter user humorously suggested that these were “olden days Akhand Bharat type toilets.” (Archived link)
While tweeting the video, a user named Tanvir quipped that ultra modern toilets were being commissioned for visitors coming to see the Ram temple in Ayodhya. (Archived link)
We performed a reverse image search using frames taken from the viral video, and came across several versions of the same footage uploaded on YouTube by a number of users. The text appearing on the video states that the scenes are from Banaras (Varanasi). A YouTube channel named Shivam Shakya uploaded this video on YouTube on January 2 and wrote that these were constructed for the convenience of devotees visiting the Swarved Temple in Varanasi.
Next, we performed a keyword search, which led us to multiple articles reporting that on December 18, 2023, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the lotus flower-shaped Swarved Temple, the world’s largest meditation centre, with the capacity to seat 20,000 people.
Investigating further, we performed keyword searches using terms to Banaras (Varanasi) and the Swarved Temple on YouTube. This led us to several videos depicting the construction of the temple and the arrangements made for devotees. One such video was posted on December 13, 2023 by a YouTube channel named ‘Sudheer Pandey Vlogs’. Scenes from the viral video appear at the 0:12 mark in this video, confirming that the footage in question is not from Ayodhya but from Banaras (Varanasi).
At the 9:57-minite mark, it can be clearly seen that the row of toilets was not ready for use. Rather, a thick plastic tent (tripal) was being used to surround it from all sides. The video clearly shows a woman setting up the covers. In other words, the lavatories seen in the viral video were not open for use. Instead, the footage showed under-construction toilets while workers were still setting up the tents.
To sum it up, the viral video does not depict preparations for the Ram Temple inauguration event in Ayodhya. It is from Varanasi. The temporary toilet facilities were made for devotees attending the Swarved Mahamandir Temple’s inauguration in Varanasi.
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