Social media users are sharing a post that claims the Assam government has announced to give Rs 15,000 every month to 'temple priests.'
However, we found that the claim is false. Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had made several announcements in August and one of them was that the temple priests and namghorias or heads of Namghars (Vaishnavite place of worship) would get a one-time COVID-19 relief package Rs 15,000 each.
The text in the Facebook post in Hindi reads, "'असम सरकार अब "मंदिर के पुजारियों" को देगी प्रति माह 15000/ महीना, स्वागत योग्य कदम।''
[Translation: The Assam government will give "temple priests" Rs 15,000 every month. This is a welcome step.]
WHAT WE FOUND
We conducted a keyword search on Google and found a news report on the website of Hindi daily Dainik Jagran published on 25 August.
According to the report, the Assam government had announced a Rs 15,000 COVID-19 relief package for all temple priests as the Hindu places of worship were closed owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the report didn't mention that the sum would be given every month.
We also found another report by India Today published on 5 November. The headline read, "Assam government to provide one-time financial grant of Rs 15,000 each to temple priests and Namghorias."
Further, we also found a news report by Economic Times published on 20 August. The report quoted Sarma as saying, "Priest and persons associated with Namgarhs will be given one-time assistance of Rs 15,000.”
Next, we checked Sarma's official Twitter handle and found one tweet posted on 20 August.
In the caption of the tweet, he wrote, coinciding with the completion of 100 days, the weekly Cabinet had made significant decisions.
In one of the infographics dated 20 August, in the tweet, it mentioned that temple priests and namghorias would get a one-time grant of Rs 15,000 as they were affected due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Further, we found another tweet on his official Twitter handle posted on 4 November which also mentioned the same.
The first point in the infographic, dated 4 November, read, "Assistance to priests and Namghorias: One-time grant of Rs 15,000 to priests and Namghorias. Online portal to be opened for registration, whose details to be advertised later."
We also looked for recent news reports to check the claim that the amount would be given every month to temple priests, but didn't find any.
Clearly, a false claim that the Assam government has announced to give Rs 15,000 to temple priests every month is being shared on social media, thereby creating a misleading narrative.