Ahead of the 2022 Uttar Pradesh (UP) elections, a post is doing the rounds which makes a slew of claims about Samajwadi Party (SP) President Akhilesh Yadav and the work that he did during his tenure. The claim tries to point out that whatever Yadav did was to appease the minorities.
But we looked at each of these claims only to find that while some of the claims are blatantly false and have no ounce of truth, others are exaggerated.
The post, originally in Hindi, speaks about five years of SP government in UP, which was from 2012-2017.
It makes a number of claims:
Largest 'Haj house' built in Meerut at the cost of Rs 70,000 crore.
If the SP comes to power in 2017, madrasas will be built in all districts of UP and all Muslim clerics will get Rs 25,000 every month.
Not a single temple built.
Over 500 temples have been demolished. It lists several districts of UP along with numbers of temples demolished in the places.
20 devotees of Lord Ram have been killed.
In the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots, 64 Hindus were shot dead.
In the Aligarh riots, 73 Hindus were killed.
WHAT WE FOUND
We looked at all the claims made in the post one by one and here's what we found.
CLAIM 1: LARGEST 'HAJ HOUSE' IN MEERUT AT THE COST OF RS 70,000 CR.
We looked through the website of 'Haj Division, Ministry of Minority Affairs' which listed two Haj Houses in the state – Lucknow and Ghaziabad.
We then scoured through the Lok Sabha answers to find a consolidated list of all the Haj Houses in the country and came across a response given by the Minister of Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi on 19 March 2020.
The question was pertaining to the construction of Haj Houses but contained an annexure on the state-wise Haj Houses in the country. It, too, mentioned two Haj Houses in UP.
Next, we looked for news reports on the 'largest Haj House in Meerut' but didn't find any.
One of the articles that we found was a PTI report published on NDTV in 2016 which mentioned that Akhilesh Yadav inaugurated the Haj House in Ghaziabad.
The report also noted the building was constructed at a cost of Rs 51 crore and was situated on the banks of river Hindon.
We found another report published in June 2015, which mentioned that Yadav had proposed to construct a third Haj House in Varanasi but we found no subsequent reports on the construction of one.
We got in touch with a local reporter in the area who told us that there is a temporary Haj House in Varanasi. We also found a news report in The Times of India published in 2012 which mentioned about this temporary Haj House.
CLAIM 2: SP PROMISED TO BUILD MADARSAS IN ALL DISTRICTS IN 2017 AND PAY RS 25,00O TO CLERICS EVERY MONTH
To check if the claim was indeed true, we decided to take a look at the election manifesto of the party.
The manifesto was released on 22 January 2017 by party President Akhilesh Yadav. None of the media reports from that time mention that the SP had promised to build mosques in all districts in UP, nor do they mention anything about a monthly allowance to the Muslim clerics.
With a focus on development, the manifesto spoke about distribution of laptops, Samajwadi pension, improving helplines for police and women, midday meals for labourers, and development of schools, among other things.
We also found a video address, in which Yadav was speaking about the party's manifesto. However, nowhere does he speak about construction of mosques or monthly allowances.
CLAIM 3: NO TEMPLES BUILT, RATHER 500 TEMPLES WERE DEMOLISHED
We looked for news reports on temple demolition during the SP government's tenure in UP, but found no reports that mentioned that temples were demolished.
However, we came across a report from September 2021, where a BJP MLA Sangeet Som had said that the 'BJP will rebuild all temples which were demolished to construct mosques.' However, no incident was stated that proved the statement.
Further, on searching news reports of Yadav inaugurating temples, we found one news report from 2014 that read that the former UP Chief Minister had inaugurated the 'Vrindavan Chandrodaya Mandir' in UP's Vrindavan, a 70-storey temple, that is billed to be the tallest shrine in the world.
"The temple, conceptualised by devotees of International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), Bangalore will be built at an estimated cost of Rs 700 crore by 2022," a report in The Indian Express from 18 September 2016 read.
CLAIM 4: 20 LORD RAM DEVOTEES HAVE BEEN KILLED
In October 1990, when Mulayam Singh Yadav was the chief minister of the state, he had ordered to shoot at the karsevaks in Ayodhya, which claimed the lives of at least 16 people.
The reference here could be to that incident. Yadav had expressed regret over the incident in 2017 and said that the measure was necessary to "preserve the unity of the country" and uphold the faith of the Muslim community.
CLAIM 5: 64 HINDUS SHOT DEAD IN 2013 MUZAFFARNAGAR RIOTS
In the Muzaffarnagar riots of 2013, at least 62 people had died, seven women were allegedly raped, over 60,000 people had been displaced, and several continue to be missing till date.
Further, the government released a report in late September 2013 identifying the religion of victims of communal violence across the country.
As per this report, Uttar Pradesh recorded 62 deaths, of which 42 were Muslims and 20 were Hindus. The report was released around the time when Muzaffarnagar was limping back to normalcy.
CLAIM 6: 73 HINDUS KILLED IN ALIGARH RIOTS
Communal violence broke out in Aligarh in April 2006 when Mulayam Singh Yadav was the state's chief minister.
As per a report in Hindustan Times, at least three people were killed and 13 were injured in the clashes. Reportedly, there was a dispute over the decoration of a temple, which resulted in an argument between members of the two communities and later snowballed into a clash.
We found another report in The Times of India published on 30 May 2006 which mentioned the killing of a BJP worker, which sparked off violence.
Clearly, claims in the post are blatantly false, exaggerated, and not backed by facts. While incidents like Muzaffarnagar riots and violence in Aligarh happened during the SP government, the number of casualties, linked to religion, have been increased to present a false picture.