A video showing a man praying in what appears to be a temple is going viral on the internet with the claim that the man had a gamcha (towel) on his shoulders and was offering namaz (Islamic prayer) in the temple.
Several users have shared the video, including some verified Twitter handles such as Uttarpradesh.org and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh's mouthpiece Panchjanya, where the location has been identified as Prayagraj's Civil Lines. The claims also mentioned that it was a temple of Lord Hanuman where the man bowed down to offer prayer.
However, we found that the claim was false. In a video uploaded on the official Twitter handle of Prayagraj police, the man offering prayer in the viral clip has been identified as 'Vaibhav Tripathi' who belongs to the Hindu community. It was uploaded on 19 September.
In the video, Tripathi can be heard speaking in Hindi, what loosely translates to, "I come here daily to pray, and I am a devotee of Thakur ji. But I sit in the Vajrasana (a yoga position) pose, due to which some people mistook my identity." He further apologises to the people for the confusion.
The clip was shared with a caption in Hindi that read, "प्रयागराज के सिविल लाइंस स्थित हनुमत निकेतन, हनुमान मंदिर में युवक के कथित तौर पर नमाज पढ़ने का दावा करने वाला वीडियो सोशल मीडिया पर #Viral हो रहा हैं।वीडियो में दाढ़ी रखे हुए एक युवक पीठ पर गमछा लपेटे हुए हाथों को कान तक ले जाते और फिर सजदा करते हुए देखा जा रहा है।"
(Translation: In the Hanumat Niketan situated in Prayagraj's Civil Lines, the claim of a young man offering namaz inside a temple is going viral on social media. In the video, a man with a beard and a towel on his shoulders can be seen touching his ears and bowing down on the floor.)
WHAT WE FOUND
We searched the official Twitter handle of the Prayagraj police and came across a tweet which mentioned the same incident.
Shailesh Pandey, SSP Prayagraj, in an interview, when asked about the viral video, can be heard dismissing the claims of the man offering namaz inside the temple in Civil Lines. Pandey further highlights that the individual was from the Hindu community and identified him as 'Vaibhav Tripathi'.
The video was uploaded on 19 September.
In another video uploaded by the Prayagraj police on Twitter, the man himself clarifies his identity and religion.
Tripathi can be heard saying in Hindi, "I come here daily to pray, and I am a devotee of Thakur ji. But I sit in the Vajrasana (a yoga position) pose, due to which some people mistook my identity."
He further can be heard apologising for the confusion caused.
Vajrasana is a sitting pose in yoga where a person kneels and then sits back on their legs with their palms kept on the knees, facing upwards.
The statement by the police official and the clarification from the man makes it evident that the video is being shared with false claims.
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