A short video showing children replacing a crown on their schoolmate's head with a hijab during a stage performance is being shared on social media.
The video has been shared with misleading claims that are communal in nature to claim that the girl, who was dressed as Bharat Mata (Mother India), was made to do this. Among those who peddled this narrative were Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Abhijat Mishra and right wing channel Sudarshan News.
However, the video is clipped. We found that the incident took place in Shishu Bharatiya Vidyalaya in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh.
In the longer version of the video of the school event shared by Lucknow Police's account, it is clear that the play shows Hindu, Christian, and Sikh manners of worship, along with namaz being offered to depict Muslim customs.
The short clip was shared claiming that the children performing had taken off 'Mother India's' crown and replaced it with a hijab, before making the student offer namaz. Several users tagged Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, asking him to take action against the incident.
What We Found
Under Sudarshan News' claim, we came across a reply by Police Commissionerate Lucknow's account, which addressed the video in question.
Sharing a photo in a tweet, the account stated that the video showed a school play, organised by students of the Shishu Bharatiya Vidyalaya in Uttar Pradesh's Lucknow.
It mentioned that a longer version of the video was obtained, which showed that the children were sharing a message of unity and to rise above religious differences.
The account also shared the longer video of the school performance, which showed bells ringing and vermillion being applied for Hindu worship, positioning Bharat Mata as a crucified Jesus to show Christian prayers, and offering Sikh prayers as well.
Additionally, we came across a tweet by The Times of India journalist Arvind Chauhan, who shared a small clip of Pragati Nigam, the school teacher who choreographed the performance.
"If you watch the full video, you will see that I intended to show all four religions together in the play. I have no intentions to hurt any religious sentiments. I request everyone to watch the full video and then decide if I have done anything wrong or hurt anyone," Nigam said.
Chauhan also shared a video of Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) (West) S Chinappa's official version of the incident.
"A viral video on social media shows students taking off a crown from "Bharat Mata's" head and replacing it a with a hijab. On investigation, we found that the video was from Shishu Bharatiya Vidyalaya under Malviya Nagar's Bazar Khala police station. We spoke to the school authorities and saw the full video. We found that the students had organised a play to convey the message of communal harmony and unity, and an incomplete video was tweeted to spread false information."DCP (West) S Chinappa, Lucknow Police
Clearly, a trimmed video was shared with a false communal spin that children performing in a play removed a crown from Bharat Mata's head to replace it with a hijab and made her offer namaz, when the play included the Christian, Sikh, and Hindu ways of worship as well.
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