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Fact check round-up: Misinformation on Gyanvapi mosque survey

Varanasi: Security personnel stand guard as Muslims arrive in a large number at the Gyanvapi mosque to offer Friday prayers, in Varanasi, Friday, May 20, 2022.

Varanasi: Security personnel stand guard as Muslims arrive in a large number at the Gyanvapi mosque to offer Friday prayers, in Varanasi, Friday, May 20, 2022. | Photo Credit: pti

With reports that a 'shivling' was discovered during a recent court-monitored survey in the Gyanvapi mosque recently, the social media is flooded with "images of the Shivling". What is the truth behind these claims?

Many Shivlings that are not from Varanasi

This Facebook post claiming the Shivling found in Gyanvapi Mosque is false.

This Facebook post claiming the Shivling found in Gyanvapi Mosque is false.

The lawyers representing the Hindu group claimed a 'shivling' was found, while Muslim side claimed it was the fountain. While the court is yet to pronounce its verdict, a number of images from fountains in mosques that resembled the Shivling began floating as the one found inside Gyanvapi mosque.

Here is an example.

The original image was from the ablution pool at the Nakhoda Masjid, Kolkata. It is available in Wikipedia page.

This Facebook post claiming the massive Shivling was found in Gyanvapi mosque is false.

This Facebook post claiming the massive Shivling was found in Gyanvapi mosque is false.

Another claim was that the 'shivling' was 12-feet long. We will not know if it is true until the report is made public. But here is a social media post on it.

The original image was from Baba Bhusandeswar Temple, Balasore, Odisha. This image too was taken from Wikipedia. According to a report featured in The Pioneer, the temple is located in Bhogarai village, and houses one of the tallest Shivlings in the world. It is a 12 feet long and 14 feet wide lingam that is carved out of black granite. The temple was damaged in 2013 floods.

A videograb from a video claiming the Shivling is from Gyanavapi mosque is false.

A videograb from a video claiming the Shivling is from Gyanavapi mosque is false.

A video of submerged shivling was also being shared as that from Gyanvapi. When we conducted a reverse image search with a screenshot from the video, it led us to a Youtube video uploaded on October 16, 2020. While the location of the video is not known, it is clear that an old video is being circulated.

Here is another image from Twitter.

This image is from Vietnam. External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar had tweeted the image last year to applaud ASI's work at Cham Temple Complex, My Son, Vietnam. He also mentioned that he had visited the place in 2011.

Claim: Images/videos of Shivling found in Varanasi’s Gyanvapi mosque premises

Fact check: False

Nandi from Varanasi?

The image shown as Nandi idol in Kashi Vishwanath temple, is actually from Kashi Visheshwar Temple in Wai, Maharashtra. The image can be found at stock image website Alamy.

Here is an archive image of the Nandi in Vishwanath temple taken from the same Alamy website.

Claim: The Nandi idol at Kashi Vishwanath temple

Fact Check: False

Celebrations in Varanasi?

A viral video of devotees playing percussions claimed people in Varanasi were celebrating the discovery of the Shivling. A reverse image search using a screengrab taken from the video led us to a 2019 video in Youtube. While the user didn't specify when and where the video was taken, it is clear it that it is an old video.

Claim: People in Varanasi celebrate the discovery of idol

Fact check: Misleading

Tears of joy or sorrow?

A tweet claims this Muslim man was in tears on knowing about the Shivling. The claim is misleading.

A tweet claims this Muslim man was in tears on knowing about the Shivling. The claim is misleading.

A screengrab of a Muslim youth weeping was shared with a claim "tears of joy" came from him after Shivling is found.

The photo showed he was being interviewed by UP Tak. So a keyword search on UP Tak's Youtube page showed a Dec 15, 2021 video. In the nine-minute video, the man appears at about 4.50 and speaks in both English and Hindi. He says his name is Naushad Alam and he is from Kolkata. He goes on to say he "feels the pain" that the mosque is hardly visible from outside. He turns emotional and says the rights [of Muslims] are being supressed.

Claim: Muslim youth in tears seeing Shivling

Fact check: Misleading


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Printable version | May 25, 2022 5:29:45 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/fact-check-round-up-misinformation-on-gyanvapi-mosque-survey/article65442234.ece