A set of images is going viral across social media, claiming that it shows people breaking their fast during an ‘iftar party’ at Presidency University, Kolkata. Social media users have alleged that the party was organised in an educational institution where the celebration of Saraswati Puja was allegedly not allowed.
As per a report by ETV Bharat dated January 26, 2023, titled, Presidency University Saraswati Pujo: Pujo cannot be done inside the campus', the institution had not permitted the celebration of Saraswati Puja or any other festival within the college campus 'to uphold the secular values of educational institutions'. As per the report, the puja was held outside the campus gates.
'Organiser' shared an article in a tweet. The article contains two viral images which show a person clicking a selfie of people breaking their fast while the other shows people sitting in lines and participating in a feast.
Organiser Weekly shared the images with the claim, “Secularism of Kolkata’s Presidency University: Allows grand Iftar party but never gives permission for Saraswati puja.”
The images are viral, with similar claims across social media.
We conducted a reverse image search on the viral image and came across a post by Facebook user ‘IrFan SadiQue’ uploaded on April 5, 2023. The post is captioned, “Iftar at Dawat, Eden Hindu Hostel, (Presidency University)."
We then conducted a keyword search on Google Maps regarding the location of Eden Hindu Hostel and Presidency University. This shows a distance of 500 meters between the two institutions.
We also checked the videos and images uploaded to the Google listing of Eden Hindu Hostel. After comparing the visuals, we see a white wall in front of the red-and-white building. Comparing the two images, the white walls, the red-white colour of the building and the type of trees seen in the viral image; all match up with Google Maps.
We also found Facebook posts shared by Sadique about Saraswati Puja being held in Eden Hindu Hostel on 6 April. He posted images for Puja and dismissed the claims about the communal angle given to the viral post. The caption notes that Iftar was hosted at the hostel on 5 April, 2023.
In our Fact Check, we also found a video uploaded by Sadique on 7 April where he notes that Presidency College’s Eden Hindu hostel have celebrated Saraswati Puja every year in the past, just like they held an Iftar party.
In the caption, he wrote, "Presidency campus does not allow any celebrations in its ground. However, celebrations (of all festivals) occur in the hostel grounds, and it’s not something new." Sadique added that certain political parties and users are spreading misinformation about this matter. He also clarifies that students of Presidency College’s Eden Hindu hostel have celebrated Saraswati Puja as well every year in the past just like the Iftar party.
Another video uploaded by Facebook user ‘Shuvajit Sarkar’ on January 26, 2023, is captioned, “Saraswati Puja organised by residents at Eden Hindu Hostel in Presidency. Kudos to them for organising it this year like every time….”
The video shows visuals of people in religious attire and a puja being organised in Eden Hindu Hostel.
We found that the viral images show an Iftar party organised at Eden Hindu Hostel and not Presidency University as claimed. The hostel has hosted both festivals such as Saraswati Puja and the iftar. The images are viral with false claims.
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Also Read: Does This Image Show Historical Figures At Maulana Azad’s Iftar Party? No, Viral Image Depicts Lunch Hosted By Sardar Patel