Several social media users and a few Urdu and Bangla media outlets have been sharing two videos recently. In the first set of visuals, a bulldozer is seen picking up hundreds of idols from a road. In the second, people are throwing idols of the Hindu deity Ganesh from a bridge into the river below. Both are being shared with the claim that Hindus are renouncing their gods because they did not protect them from the COVID-19 pandemic.
A news broadcast by an outlet called Shia Waves has also been circulating widely. Shia Waves also published an article with the same claim.
Idols Thrown On The Street || Indians Destroyed Their Idols
Posted by Saboor Aboo Israaeel Kewdirorunwiyy on Sunday, May 9, 2021
Dozens of users are sharing the news broadcast.
Pakistani news channel Asal Haqiqat also broadcasted the first clip with the accompanying claim. It added that Hindus were converting to Islam and offering prayers at Muslim places of worship after being disappointed with their own gods. A few other YouTube channels also released similar videos (first, second, and third).
The first clip featuring the bulldozer is also being shared on Facebook. A number of users wrote Bangla captions about people in different parts of India destroying idols. From the page Fast News Bangladesh the video amassed thousands of views.
Alt News found that both clips were shot before the advent of the coronavirus and all the claims being made on social media are false.
First clip: Bulldozer removing idols on the road
Alt News fact-checked another video in September 2019, related to the clip in question. At the time, the visuals of thousands of idols of Ganesh lying on the road were shared as people insulting the Hindu faith. However, the video was actually filmed on the banks of the Sabarmati river in Ahmedabad, where locals left the idols on the pavement in an effort to not dirty the water body. While conducting an awareness drive on water pollution, the local administration encouraged the public not to throw the idols in the river after their puja rituals. Joining the initiative in huge numbers, they placed the idols on the shore instead of immersing them in the river following the Dashama fast.
IAS officer Vijay Nehra had shared the pictures of the idols two years ago.
Something amazing is happening in #Ahmedabad today.
Ordinary citizens have decided to keep #Sabarmati river clean.
Instead of immersing Dashama idols in the river, they have respectfully left them on the banks!!
Thousands and Thousands of them. Unbelievable change 🙏 pic.twitter.com/t5f0yh9ywr
— Vijay Nehra (@vnehra) August 11, 2019
A video from the same day of the idols being removed with the help of a bulldozer has now gone viral.
— Sagar Savaliya (@sagarsavaliya05) August 11, 2019
Second clip: Idols being thrown from a truck
We performed a reverse image search of stills from the second clip, which led us to several fact-check reports, including one by AFP. The same visuals were viral last year with the claim that angry Hindus were throwing away their idols because their gods could not protect them from COVID-19.
Many of the other reports cited a 2015 Facebook post containing a seven-minute-long video. According to Hvkprasad Prasad, the user who posted the video, the immersion ceremony had taken place at the NH 44 highway adjoining the Krishna River.
ಲೈಕ್ ಮಾಡಬೇಡಿ ಶೇರ್ ಮಾಡಿ
ಇದು NH 44 ಮೆಹಬೂಬ್ ನಗರ್ ಜಿಲ್ಲೆಯ ತೆಲಾ೦ಗಣ ರಾಜ್ಯದ ಕೃಷ್ಣ ನದಿಯ ಸೇತುವೆಯ ಮೇಲೆ
ತೆಲಾ೦ಗಣ ಪೋಲೀಸರು ಗಣಪತಿಯನ್ನು ವಿಸಜ೯ನೆ ಮಾಡುತ್ತಿರುವ ರೀತಿ
Posted by Hvkprasad Prasad on Thursday, September 24, 2015
Using Google Earth, we verified the location of the Facebook video and found that it was, indeed, the same place.
The Google photo screenshot below shows the same water tank, piece of land, and barricades that appear in the viral video.
Officer Rama Rajeshwari of the Telangana Police confirmed to AFP that the video was taken at Beechupalli, located next to the Krishna River.
Two videos around the immersion of idols went viral, with many Muslim users claiming that Hindus lost faith in their gods and began throwing away their statues amid the COVID-19 pandemic. This claim is absolutely false.