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Did Muslim Youths Place SDPI Flag Over Shankaracharya Statue? No!

The accused has been identified as Milind who had placed a banner over the statue under the influence of alcohol.

Updated
WebQoof
4 min read
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.
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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.

You can view the archived version <a href="http://archive.is/crelZ">here</a>.
You can view the archived version here.
(Source: Twitter/ Screenshot)

CLAIM

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.”

You can view the archived version <a href="http://archive.is/wip/ri6y6">here</a>.
You can view the archived version here.
(Source: Twitter/ Screenshot)

BJP MP Shobha Karandlaje, who has shared fake news at several instances, also claimed the same.

You can view the archived version <a href="http://archive.is/SmKa7">here</a>.
You can view the archived version here.
(Source: Twitter/ Screenshot)

Meanwhile, Mahesh Vikram Hegde, founder of Postcard News, went ahead and even identified the accused as “Rafiq and Sahil”.

You can view the archived version <a href="http://archive.is/sYZbB">here</a>.
You can view the archived version here.
(Source: Twitter/ Screenshot)

Not only BJP leaders and other social media users, but even news outlets such as Deccan Herald, The New Indian Express published reports saying that SDPI flag was thrown over the Shankaracharya statue.

You can view the archived version <a href="http://archive.is/Dx46a">here.</a>
You can view the archived version here.
(Source: Deccan Herald/ Screenshot)
You can view the archived version <a href="https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/karnataka/2020/aug/13/miscreants-throw-sdpi-flag-on-shankaracharya-statue-in-sringeri-devotees-stage-protest-2182958.html">here.</a>
You can view the archived version here.
(Source: The New Indian Express/ Screenshot)

RSS mouthpiece Organiser, too, shared an article making the claim and accusing two Muslim youths for the same.

You can view the archived version <a href="http://archive.is/bPqFq">here</a>.
You can view the archived version here.
(Source: Organiser/ Screenshot)
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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.

Left: Banner. Right: SDPI flag.
Left: Banner. Right: SDPI flag.
(Photo: Altered by The Quint)

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.

(Not convinced of a post or information you came across online and want it verified? Send us the details on WhatsApp at 9643651818, or e-mail it to us atwebqoof@thequint.com and we'll fact-check it for you. You can also read all our fact-checked stories here.)

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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