Anti-Hindu elements vandalised 63 idols at the Avinashi Lingeshwarar temple in Tiruppur, Tamil Nadu.
Hindu man held for allegedly attempting to steal temple property, police said he is mentally unstable.
Several social media users are circulating a set of four images, claiming that they show the Avinashi Lingeshwarar temple in Tiruppur, Tamil Nadu, where “Anti-Hindu elements vandalized & damaged 63 idols”. “This was a well-planned conspiracy by Hindu haters who could not tolerate the unprecedented rush of devotees for the Rath Mahotsav in the last few days,” read the post.
The archived versions of the tweets can be seen here and here.
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Newschecker ran a keyword search for “Avinashi Lingeshwarar idols”, which led us to multiple news reports, seen here, here and here, stating that thieves broke into the temple on Monday night.
“A 32-year-old man was caught vandalising idols and attempting to steal valuables at Avinashi Lingeshwarar temple in Tirupur on Tuesday. Police nabbed the accused, Saravana Bharathi, from Vellamadai in Sevur in Avinashi, as he was in hiding by climbing up the temple gopuram (tower). The incident came to light when a priest opened the temple for the early morning ‘puja’ around 4am,” read a DT Next report, dated May 24. The Indian Express reported that the accused attempted to break open the hundial or the collection box, removed the parivattam (headbands) from the idols of Nayanmar, and also damaged the cement kalasams (pots).
On allegations that close to 63 Nayanmar idols were broken inside the temple, the police reportedly said none of the idols was damaged by the accused. The police said that the accused had psychological issues and did this mischief due to his unstable mental condition, according to the Indian Express report.
A relevant keyword search then led us to this tweet by the Tamil Nadu police, dated May 24, responding to one of the viral claims. “…accused Saravana Bharathi (32) (Hindu) S/o Udhayakumar was arrested and remanded within 24 hours of the incident…He has mental disorder. He does not belong to any political organisation,” read the tweet, contradicting the viral claims.
We have reached out to the Tiruppur Police and will update this article once we receive a response.
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The idols at Avinashi Lingeswarar temple in Tamil Nadu were not vandalised by a “Hindu hater” as falsely claimed by several social media users, but by a “mentally unstable” person.
Tamil Nadu police’s tweet, May 24, 2023
DT Next report, May 24, 2023
Indian Express report, May 24, 2023
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