Several social media users on Facebook and Twitter are sharing a video that shows a group of men shouting out the Azaan on the road. The posts accompanying the video claim that these men were protesting the recent clamp down on loudspeakers by the UP government. But Newschecker has found that the video is from 2020, and unrelated to the recent directive by the UP government to remove illegal loudspeakers.
The video was shared by several prominent pages including including Sudarshan News and popular twitter user Rakesh Krishnan Simha.
Others like the BJP spokesperson for Delhi, Ajay Sherawat, shared the video without much contextual information, passing it off in the context of the recent restrictions on loudspeakers.
The video was also shared on Facebook by many, claiming that the incident took place in Mumbai.
UP Government’s decision on loudspeakers
Last week, the Indian Express reported that the Yogi Adityanath government directed officials to ensure that sound levels are restricted for the use of loudspeakers and appropriate decibel levels are set following which the government directed districts to ensure that “illegal” loudspeakers are removed and those authorised should comply with the “correct decibel limits”. “It also directed the police to prepare a list of violators, including places of worship, and to ensure the implementation of rules through dialogue with religious leaders,” the article reported. The issue of loudspeakers is also a talking point in Maharashtra, where elections for the civic body BMC are due. On June 14, the Bombay High Court is set to hear a plea seeking contempt proceedings based on a plea filed in 2018 over alleged non-compliance of directions against “illegal” loudspeakers at religious places. The hearing “came amid escalating tensions in Maharashtra over an ultimatum issued by MNS chief Raj Thackeray who warned of “repercussions” if loudspeakers are not removed from mosques by May 3 after the Ramzan period ends” reported the Indian Express.
To check the authenticity of the claim, Newschecker conducted a keyword search in Hindi on Facebook and found the same video was first shared in April 2020, making it clear that the video had no links to the recent clamp down on loudspeakers in Uttar Pradesh.
On analysing the videos posted in April 2020, we were able to comprehend a few nameboards, one of which read ‘Dr N Rai Homepath.’ and ‘Howrah’. With the help of Google maps we were able to ascertain that Dr N Rai Homeopath was indeed in Howrah, West Bengal. Newschecker contacted Dr N Rai through the contact details available on the Google Maps location tag, and were informed by Dr Rai that the video was indeed taken outside his clinic in Howrah, but was not able to give anymore information as he maintained that his clinic in the region has been shut for the past two years.
On further analyses we also found another name board that read ‘Shimla Biryani Howrah’. Through keyword search, we were able to find a better resolution image of the nameboard, which mentioned the location as ‘GT Road, Pilkhana, North Howrah’ and also featured a phone number on it. But Newschecker couldn’t get through to anyone with the number that was listed.
On further research, we noticed a medical shop near Dr N Rai clinic, and through Google maps, we were able to identify it as Ashraf Medical Hall on GT Road in North Howrah. We found a mobile number listed against the shop which connected us to Md Ashraf, the owner of the medical shop, who confirmed that the incident took place outside his pharmacy.
According to Ashraf, “The situation at the time of lockdown was quite frightening. The people seen in the video were praying to Allah by giving azaan on the road that everyone should get rid of Corona soon. The mosque was closed due to the lockdown, due to which people were praying on the road. It happened only on that day, not everyday.”
Newschecker also contacted Howrah police commissioner C Sudhakar who confirmed that the video was from the lockdown period and that those seen in the video were praying for society to be rid of the coronavirus soon.
Video showing a group of men shouting out the Azaan and performing Namaz on the road from the lockdown during the first wave of the pandemic in Kolkata, is being shared as a recent event, following the clampdown on loudspeakers by UP the government.
Result: False Context/False
Facebook Post of April 7, 2020
Conversation with Howrah CP C. Sudhakar
Conversation with the owner of Medical store and Dr. N Rai
Self Analysis using Google and Maps
This article was originally published in Newschecker Hindi
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