A video in which a youth can be seen desecrating a temple and urinating has gone viral on social media with a false communal spin.
Several users shared the video with the claim that it shows Muslims disrespecting Hindu temples. This comes after communal tension flared up on social media over a video of a 14-year-old boy getting thrashed for allegedly entering a temple to drink water.
However, the Additional Sub-Inspector at the Anakapalle Rural Police Station confirmed to The Quint’s WebQoof team that the youth in the viral video were not Muslims.
Several users shared the video with the caption, “See why they go to the Temples. They don't go there to drink water but to pee on our sacred Shivling (sic)“ along with the hashtag ‘I stand with Shringi Yadav’ in support of the accused who had thrashed the minor in Ghaziabad.
The video shared by a user ‘Praveen Chauhan’ had garnered over 70,600 views at the time of writing this article.
The video was shared by ‘Hindu Ecosystem’ without giving the full context of the incident, garnering over 74,000 views at the time of writing this article.
The video was also shared on Facebook.
WHAT WE FOUND OUT
With a relevant keyword search we came across the video, uploaded by YouTube channel Top Most Media - the watermark of which can also be seen on the viral video - on 11 April 2018.
We also found the video on local news channel, ABN Telugu, dating back to April 2018, which identified the location as Pisinikada Village in Anakapalle district of Andhara Pradesh’s Visakhapatnam.
A report by Telugu daily Andhrajyothi can also be read here.
A local reporter from Anakapalle also confirmed to The Quint’s WebQoof team that the incident had indeed taken place in Pisinikada village in 2018. The accused were minors at the time, who had been identified and arrested.
Further, we reached out to the Additional Sub Inspector A Venkateshwar Rao at Anakapalle Rural police station who stated that persons in video were not Muslims.
He informed us that the incident happened in 2018, when the accused were 16-year-old. They were identified as Jagganath Ramesh, a resident of Subramanian Colony and Dasari Anand, a resident of Krishnapuram in Anakapalli, who recorded the video.
Constable Chinna Babu who had escorted the duo to the court further stated that both the youths were Christians.
FIR number 52/2018 was filed against them under the sections 153A (for promoting enmity on grounds of religion and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony), 295A (for outraging religious feelings) and 34 (act done by several people with common intention) of the IPC, along with Section 66 of the IT Act (for sending of offensive messages through a computer etc.) They each incurred a fine of Rs 1,500.
We also came across a fact-check by Fact Crescendo, dating back to 2019, when the video had gone viral as an incident in Uttar Pradesh’s Bulandhshahar, falsely identifying the boy in the viral video as ‘Irshad.’
Evidently, the accused in the video has been falsely identified as a Muslim.
(With inputs from Surya Reddy)
(Editor’s note: The story has been updated to include a quote from the Additional Sub-Inspector A Venkateshwar Rao and Constable Chinna Babu at the Anakapalle Rural police station.)