Fact Check: Yes, Mosque Was Vandalized In Ashok Nagar, Delhi
At least 20 people including a Delhi Police Head Constable, have died in the north-east Delhi that has been on the boil since Sunday evening. Amidst the shocking reports that have come out from the area is a mosque in Ashok Nagar being set on fire on February 25.
In one of the videos of the incident that soon went viral, a man can be seen climbing up the minaret and placing a Hanuman flag. Another can be seen trying to place an Indian flag on the minaret. The video was shared by many including noted journalist Rana Ayyub on Twitter.
However, Ayyub took down the video after several, including Tehseen Poonawalla, claimed that the video was fake and unrelated to the current events. After confirming its authenticity, she posted it again.
Re-posting this video after verifying its authenticity. It is from Delhi. Men marching on top of a mosque, vandalising it and placing a saffron flag over it. pic.twitter.com/bScgJMxKc3— Rana Ayyub (@RanaAyyub) February 25, 2020
Stop what you're doing, watch this video & read about what's happening in India.— Arjun Sethi (@arjunsethi81) February 25, 2020
As Trump and Modi parade across the country, mobs are openly attacking Muslims, looting their businesses & desecrating houses of worship just like you see in this video.pic.twitter.com/ouMXwXMsVg
Later in the day, DCP North West, Delhi, said that the news regarding the mosque being vandalised in Ashok Vihar was fake.
"Some false information/news item has been circulating regarding damage to a mosque in Ashok Vihar area. It is to clarify that no such incident has taken place in the area of Ashok Vihar. Please do not spread false information," the DCP said.
Poonawalla also shared the same in reply to Ayyub's video.
Police responds to the fake 'mosque vandalising' video being circulated on social media.— TIMES NOW (@TimesNow) February 25, 2020
'No such incident took place', says police.
Details by TIMES NOW's Priyank Tripathi. | #DelhiFightHate | @thenewshour AGENDA with Padmaja Joshi. pic.twitter.com/Su324UTof2
Soon after the Delhi police's tweet, many demanded the arrest of Ayyub and others who shared the video for spreading fake information.
Dear @DelhiPolice fake news was spread by @RanaAyyub who is a serial offender.Hope you take strict action against her.— Naina 🇮🇳 (@NaIna0806) February 25, 2020
How does @washingtonpost associate itself with a communal bigot and a hatemongers. #RanaAyub #DelhiRiots pic.twitter.com/rpW00atZrs
Some even claimed that it is an old video from Bihar, where a mosque was attacked in 2018 in Samastipur.
DCP North West Delhi: This is a old video from bihar. Some false news item has been circulating regarding damage to a mosque in Ashok Vihar area. It is to clarify that no such incident has taken place in the area of Ashok Vihar. Please do not spread false information https://t.co/mzD7JldLPh— Sapna Madan ❄️Care4Animals❄️ (@sapnamadan) February 25, 2020
Jihadis are now trying to play victim card.😒— Upasana Singh (@upasanashindu) February 25, 2020
They are sharing a video of a mosque destroyed in Samastipur, Bihar in 2018 as the one from today's rioting in #DelhiRiots😡🤬
Even Delhi police has clarified that no mosque was attacked in Ashok Nagar.#DelhiViolence
Political commentator Nisheeth Sharan tweeted claiming that a criminal complaint was filed against Ayyub for circulating fake, old video.
Criminal complaint filed against Rana Ayyub for circulating fake, old video under relevant sections. Likely to be arrested... https://t.co/3DXl7CCEFR— Nisheeth Sharan (@nisheethsharan) February 25, 2020
Ashok Nagar Not Ashok Vihar
Many people are confusing Ashok Vihar with Ashok Nagar, where the vandalism actually too place. Even, The Wire had initially reported that a mosque in Ashok Vihar, Delhi was set on fire. However, they later clarified that the video was from Ashok Nagar.
It is also to be noted that in the various reports doing rounds on social media, DCP North West, Delhi, clearly says that no mosque was vandalised in Ashok Vihar.
DCP North West, Delhi: Some false information/news item has been circulating regarding damage to a mosque in Ashok Vihar area. It is to clarify that no such incident has taken place in the area of Ashok Vihar. Please do not spread false information.— ANI (@ANI) February 25, 2020
The Video Is From February 25
The Wire's Naomi Barton, who reported the incident, took to Twitter to clarify that she personally saw the flag on top of the minaret in of the mosque in Ashok Nagar on February 25.
Making this very clear : I personally saw the flag on top of the miniaret of the mosque at Ashok NAGAR, not VIHAR.— Naomi Barton (@therealnaomib) February 25, 2020
The mosque had been burned, and a footwear shop underneath it was looted in front of my eyes. https://t.co/tRLTWsz6qP
Avichal Dubey, who shot the video, also took to Twitter to clarify the same.
It's real video of #ashoknagar in #Delhi clicked by me.@AltNews @thewire_in @svaradarajan @therealnaomib @DelhiPolice @ANI— Avichal Dubey (@AvichalDubey) February 25, 2020
Hanuman Flag Placed on Minaret after vandalisation of Mosque. pic.twitter.com/83ultBFi0R
The Logical Indian reached out to Dubey, who said that the mosque that was vandalised was Badi Masjid at Ashok Nagar, Mandoli, Near Yamuna Vihar.
"When we reached the location, the mosque was already on fire, and it was being vandalised. At that time, no one was climbing it or placing a flag. However, the people with us told that two flags were placed on the minaret - one of the Hanuman flag and the other an Indian flag. However, the latter had fallen down," said Dubey. He also shared a close-up of the mosque.
The EXIF data of the photograph clearly shows that it was shot on February 25 at 3:57 pm.
Furthermore, the mob also looted a footwear shop. Dubey said that he shot the video of the mosque between 3:45 pm and 4:00 pm. He added that according to locals, the miscreants had been vandalising shops for two to three hours.
Hours before the video of the mosque surfaced online, several people had taken to social media to report about the violence in Ashok Nagar. This further corroborates Dubey's statement that the riots had been going on for hours before the video was shot.
Around 2:20 pm, one user reported about stone-pelting incidents in the area on Facebook.
"Police came to Ashok Nagar. Met the people who have been hiding in their homes. Police refused to cooperate with them," the user wrote.
The Logical Indian also found a screenshot of a Whatsapp message reporting stone-pelting incident inside the mosque. The message further said that five boys were stuck inside the masjid and a huge mob was outside.
The Video Not Connected To Samastipur Incident
False claims of the video being filmed in 2018 from Samastipur in Bihar where saffron flags were hoisted by a mob on a mosque are being circulated on social media.
In video grabs from the incident, it can be seen that the structure of the Samastipur mosque is completely different from the Ashok Nagar mosque. While the former have two minarets, the latter has only one.
The images and videos of the mosque being vandalised are indeed from Ashok Nagar, amidst the violence in the national capital on February 25. It is not an old video of a similar incident that occurred in 2018 of a mosque in Samastipur, Bihar.
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