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No, People Did Not Destroy Idols Due To Anger Over COVID-19

The viral news bulletin uses two old clips to falsely claim that Indian Hindus are throwing idols on the street.

Published
WebQoof
3 min read
The bulletin claims that Indians destroyed idols when the ‘Gods did not protect them from coronavirus’.
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A video of a purported news bulletin by ‘Shia Waves’, a Shiite news agency, is doing the rounds on social media, showing visuals of idols being destroyed and picked up by a backhoe, with some being thrown into a river.

It falsely claims that Indians are destroying the idols of Gods and they have abandoned their faith because of the rising COVID cases in the country.

However, we found that the bulletin used two separate clips, both old, and stitched them together.

The first one was captured in 2019 in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, and the second one is from 2015, and was shot in Beechupally, Telangana. Both these incidents happened well before the coronavirus pandemic hit the country.

While we could not find this video uploaded on ‘Shia Waves’ channels, we found an article on the same on the news agency’s website.

CLAIM

Multiple social media users have shared the video claiming that Indians threw the idols because their Gods "could not save them from coronavirus".

An archived version of this post can be found <a href="https://archive.st/4657">here</a>.
An archived version of this post can be found here.
(Source: Facebook/Screenshot)

Similar claims made on Twitter using the same video can be found here and here, while Facebook posts with the same claim can be accessed here and here.

WHAT WE FOUND OUT

The viral video is a combination of two clips, and we found that both of them are old and had been on the internet much before the coronavirus pandemic began. Let’s take a look at them one by one.

CLIP 1

The clip shows a backhoe clearing idols of a goddess from the street.
The clip shows a backhoe clearing idols of a goddess from the street.

(Image: Facebook/Screenshot)

We found similar visuals in a Twitter reply to IAS officer Vijay Nehra's tweet, about citizens choosing to keep the river Sabarmati clean by leaving Dashama idols on the road instead of immersing them in the river.

The video, tweeted by one Sagar Savaliya was related to the same incident in 2019, when people complied with Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation's request to leave idols on the banks of the Sabarmati to prevent pollution.

The incident in this video had previously been fact-checked by The Quint in 2019, when the video was circulated claiming that people were insulting the idols.

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CLIP 2

<div class="paragraphs"><p>The second clip shows Ganesh idols being offloaded from a truckand into a river.</p></div>

The second clip shows Ganesh idols being offloaded from a truckand into a river.

(Image: Facebook/Screenshot)

On running a reverse image search, we found that the oldest version of this clip was shared on 24 September 2015 by Facebook user Hvkprasad Prasad.

The video carried a caption in Kannada, which said that the incident occurred on the bridge over the Krishna river, along NH 44 in Mahabubnagar district of Telangana.

Using Google Maps' street view, we tried to verify the location of the clip.

We went to the location on Google Maps and found that the visuals matched with a bridge over the Krishna river in a place called Beechupally, Telangana.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>Both images show red railings and a white structure on the riverbank.</p></div>

Both images show red railings and a white structure on the riverbank.

(Image: Facebook/Google Maps/Altered by The Quint)

The 2015 video (left) shows a white structure on the riverbank and red railings along the side of the bridge. These visual cues match the ones we found on Google Maps, where the railing and the structure were visible near the mentioned location.

The Quint reached out to Telangana Police where a senior police officer from the Jogulamba Gadwal district confirmed that the incident was old and was shot during Ganesh idol immersion.

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The clips being used in the viral news bulletin are clearly old and are used to mislead people into believing that the incidents are related to the current coronavirus crisis in India.

(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 at webqoof@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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