Several BJP leaders and news outlets have claimed that the flag of Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) was thrown over the statue of Shankaracharya in Karnataka’s Sringeri. Some even claimed that Muslims youths were behind this alleged act.
Speaking to The Quint, Chikkamagaluru SP Hakay Akshay said that the person who has been arrested is identified as one Milind and the banner over the statue in question does not belong to any political party or organisation.
According to the police, the 28-year-old person had placed the banner over the statue under the influence of alcohol.
CT Ravi, minister of Kannada and Culture of Karnataka shared that “it is learned that the SDPI flag has been placed on the statue of Sri Shankaracharya at Sringeri.”
BJP MP Shobha Karandlaje, who has shared fake news at several instances, also claimed the same.
Meanwhile, Mahesh Vikram Hegde, founder of Postcard News, went ahead and even identified the accused as “Rafiq and Sahil”.
RSS mouthpiece Organiser, too, shared an article making the claim and accusing two Muslim youths for the same.
WHAT WE FOUND OUT
The Chikkamagaluru District Police tweeted on Friday, 14 August, that the banner placed over the Shankaracharya statue does not belong to any political party or organisation.
The statement issued by the police also mentioned that the accused does not belong to any political party or organisation either.
After a case was registered at the Sringeri police station, a probe initiated by the police revealed that a 28-year-old person had committed the offence and was taken into custody.
The investigation also revealed that the person in question was under the influence of alcohol at the time.
“During interrogation, the person admitted that under the influence of alcohol, he had placed a cloth belonging to one God over another God,” said the police statement.
On the night of 12 August, the accused had consumed alcohol and under its influence, to cover himself from rain, he took a banner from Sringeri Jamia Mosque which was used during Eid-Milad festival. He placed the same over the Shankaracharya statue.
HAS THE ACCUSED BEEN IDENTIFIED AS RAFIQ, SAHIL?
Outlets such as Opindia, Organiser had reported that two people, they named as Rafiq and Sahil, were arrested in relation to the matter.
However, an article published by The News Minute mentioned that the name of the accused is Milind, who is 28-year-old.
“Police zeroed in on Milind after spotting him in a CCTV footage from the area,” the TNM report added.
Speaking to The Quint, Chikkamagaluru SP Hakay Akshay said that the person who has been arrested is identified as Milind and the banner over the statue in question does not belong to any political party or organisation.
Later, in another Opindia article, the publication identified the accused as Milind.
CAN SDPI FLAG BE SEEN IN THE BANNER IN ANYWAY?
Further, we compared the viral image and the SDPI flag to check whether the banner was similar to SDPI flag or not.
Firstly, the blue background indicates that the banner does not show the SDPI flag. Secondly, even if we see the elements inside the banner, we can notice that a mosque-like structure is imprinted on the banner with red and green space along with it.
However, the red-green space does not show the SDPI flag in anyway.
Evidently, neither an SDPI flag was placed over Shankaracharya’s statue in Sringeri, nor is the accused a Muslim as claimed by BJP leaders and news reports.