A video showing a group of men in skull caps trying to destroy the gate of what appears to be a religious structure in Andhra Pradesh, has gone viral on social media platforms, with users claiming that the structure being razed was a Hindu shrine. “Peaceful religious people demolish a Naga temple in broad daylight in Andhra’s Guntur. The curse of the snake will surely wipe out the clan,” says one Facebook post. Another post can be seen here.
A reverse image search of keyframes of the video led us to this tweet by BJP national secretary, Y. Satya Kumar, on October 14, 2022. “The upper caste Ashraf Muslims of Guntur, AP destroyed the dargah worshipped by the Dudekula Pasmanda Muslims. I strongly condemn the act of taking away the religious rights of backward Muslims and demand strict action against the culprits,” the tweet read.
Further, we came across this report published by India Today on October 18, 2022. “There was a brief period of tension following the demolition of a dargah for the construction of a mosque in Guntur, Andhra Pradesh. But police officials said the situation is under control. On October 12, in Guntur’s LB Nagar, when a few people tried to demolish the dargah with hammers, the locals intervened and stopped it. People from all communities have been offering prayers at the dargah for the past 40 years.”
The India Today report added that according to the Lalapet police inspector, Baji Baba Dargah was established by AS Ratnam alias Rahman, who has been living in the area for the past 40 years. He established a samadhi for his wife on the same land 15 years ago. After her death, he asked his daughter and neighbours to build a mosque. He died in 2020 due to Covid. Due to this, the daughter, who is the legal heir, donated the land to build the mosque. But four to five families in the vicinity want it to remain as a dargah.
Another report by Zee News, dated October 16, 2022, read, “An attempt has been made to demolish a dargah in Guntur. People are opposing the demolition of the dargah and BJP has also given a loud voice to that protest…”
We reached out to Guntur’s superintendent of police (SP) and will update this article once a response is received.
It was a dargah and not a Naga temple that was being demolished in Guntur.
(This fact-check was originally done by Sabloo Thomas for Newschecker Malayalam)
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