Monday, June 17, 2024

Train tragedy: Hindutva handles spread Islamophobia, Odisha police warns strict action

Odisha Police Sunday appealed to all sections to desist from circulating rumours giving a communal colour to Balasore’s triple train accident where at least 275 people have died and over 1,100 injured.

This comes after Hindutva social media handles tried to give the accident an anti-Muslim twist by falsely claiming that a mosque was located near the spot of the accident. The Hindutva ecosystem insinuated that Muslims were responsible for the accident.

The Odisha police warned that severe legal action will be initiated against those found trying to create communal disharmony by spreading any rumor.

Taking to twitter, the Odisha police said: “It has come to notice that some social media handles are mischievously giving a communal colour to the tragic train accident at Balasore. This is highly unfortunate.”

It added,”We appeal to all concerned to desist from circulating such false and ill-motivated posts. Severe legal action will be initiated against those who are trying to create communal disharmony by spreading rumours.”

Hindutva handles shared a drone image of the Odisha train accident site which also showed a little structure closer to it, claiming that it was a mosque and the incident happened on a Friday. Fact-checking websites have, however, confirmed that the structure is a temple.

On Saturday afternoon, a Twitter account with the handle @randomsena posted an image of the accident site with an arrow pointing to a white structure with domes and captioned it “just saying…yesterday was Friday”. This seemed to suggest that the building was a mosque and that Muslims were responsible for the tragedy. The tweet had garnered four million views and nearly 4,500 retweets. This particular tweet was part of a thread wherein he tried to establish that the train accident was a planned attack by Muslims. (Archive), according to Alt News.

Other users, including @RajputRanjanaa, @RealVirendraBJP, @abbajabbadabba4, verified user @VIRALKI44722069 and parody account @mdallahwala, tweeted the same image wherein the white building was pointed at and claimed that Muslims were responsible for the accident. (Archives- 12345)

The fact-checking website AltNews pointed out that the building is, in fact, a temple run by the International Society for Krishna Consciousness or Iskcon.

”Upon a closer examination of the spot from different angles, we found that the white structure seen in the viral image resembles a temple and not a mosque. The following image was used in a Reuters report titled, “Deadly Indian rail crash shifts focus from new trains to safety“. We reached out to journalist Tamal Saha who is currently at the spot of the accident in Bahanaga. He confirmed to Alt News that the structure near the accident was indeed a temple. Upon probing further, we found that the temple was the Bahanaga ISKCON temple. A YouTube video of the temple, uploaded five months ago shows that the structure is white in colour and was under construction (although functional) at that time as well,” read AltNews story.

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