Several media organisations reported on an incident from Bihar's Purnea and claimed that a Pakistani flag had been hoisted on a residential building in the Madhubani Sipahi Tola area on the occasion of Republic Day 2023.
Who all shared the claim: The claim was shared by news agency ANI, Hindi news channels Times Now Navbharat, News18 Bihar, India TV Hindi, and Zee Bihar Jharkhand, English news organisations The New Indian, Mid Day, and the Times of India.
The claim was also shared by propaganda websites OpIndia and Organiser Weekly. In addition, several other social media users also shared the claim.
The truth: We found that the flag that was hosted was not the Pakistani flag but an Islamic flag.
Purnea police dismissed the claim and added that the flag was a religious one and had been up for over a month.
How did we find that out:
We looked at the news reports and noticed that the flag had a pattern different from the Pakistan flag.
A local journalist from Purnea sent us images from the day the flag was removed by a police officer that offered a closer look at the flag.
A side-by-side comparison of the flag with the Pakistan flag shows that they are different.
News reports clarify a day later:
We looked for updated news reports on the incident and found a report published in the Times of India where the police dismissed the claims.
The report said, "According to police, a religious flag was hoisted at a house owned by Mohammad Mubarakuddin, which is located adjacent to the local mosque."
The police added that the flag was religious and hoisted in the residence almost a month ago.
What did Bihar police say:
We reached out to Surendra Kumar Saroj, SDPO, Purnea who told The Quint that this flag represented the Islamic community.
He also added that the rumours on social media about this being Pakistan's national flag are false.
We also saw a tweet from Purnea Police, which said that their investigation concluded that the flag was not a Pakistani flag but a religious flag.
What flag was it?
We conducted a reverse image search of the flag found in Bihar and found that the flag represented the Dawat-e-Islami, an Islamic organisation.
Conclusion: Several media organisations misreported and claimed that a Pakistan flag was hoisted at a residence in Bihar on Republic Day.
(With inputs from Shadab Moizee.)
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