A video which allegedly shows a Hindu religious site in close proximity to a Muslim place of worship has gone viral across social media. The caption with the viral video claims that a Muslim mausoleum was built on a place of Hindu worship.
The video has also been circulated in the context of controversy that has erupted around Gyanvapi Masjid, in which case a Varanasi court has ordered a survey of the land to know if it was built on a temple.
A 2-minute video shows a man walking towards a Hindu religious structure. He makes claims about how Muslims were attempting to take over the Hindu religious site. He asserts that the site is believed to be where Lord Krishna taught Arjuna about the Bhagavad Gita. After stating this, he claims that Muslims built a 'mazar' (mausoleum) on the Hindu place of worship.
The man then disturbs the religious site and points out the number "786" printed on the blue cloth covering the mazar. The blue cloth also had a text in Hindi that read, "Jai Peer Baabe di," (Glory to the Peer Baba.)
The man in the viral video claims that the construction of the Mazar near the Hindu religious site was a conspiracy by Muslims to capture the sacred Hindu site.
Sudarshan News shared this video and wrote a caption in Hindi which reads, "कुरुक्षेत्र में लैंड जिहाद ? जहां भगवान कृष्ण ने अर्जुन को दिया गीता का उपदेश, वहां बना दी मजार.. !! पावन हिंदू तीर्थ पर कब्जे की साजिस ? @mlkhattar @anilvijminister से जांच की अपेक्षा है."
[English Translation: Land Jihad in Kurukshetra? Where Lord Krishna preached Gita to Arjuna, they built a tomb there..!! Conspiracy to capture the holy Hindu pilgrimage @mlkhattar proper investigation is needed @anilvijminister.]
Prashan Umrao, BJP Spokersperson shared a image and wrote, "पहली वीडिययो जो कल प्राप्त हुई थी, उसमें कुरुक्षेत्र के ज्योतिसर में एक मंदिर के पास मजार बनाने के बारे में पता चला था। दूसरी फोटो आज की है, जिसमे जगह को साफ कर दिया गया है| ऐसे ही सभी अवैध मजारों को साफ करने की आवश्यकता है."
[English Translation: In the first video that was received yesterday, it was learned about building of a tomb near a temple at Jyotisar in Kurukshetra. The second photo is from today, in which the place has been cleared. Similarly, there is a need to clean up all such illegal shrines.]
The Logical Indian Fact Check team verified the viral claim and found it to be false. The structure was installed by a Hindu Brahmin family.
We used InVid's Keyframe Analysis tool to isolate the keyframes of the viral video. We conducted a reverse image search on one of the keyframes and came across this blog published by Swadeshi.com on January 22, 2021, which indicated that the place shown in the video was a Hindu religious site located in Kurukshetra.
We also came across a Facebook page that indicated that the place of worship shown in the video is from Geeta Updesh Sthal, Jyotisar, which is a pilgrimage site in Kurukshetra, Haryana.
We then went through several videos of the location, Jyotisar, Kurukshetra in Haryana. This vlog was uploaded on 18th February 2022 and the structure can be seen in the background.
We came across another vlog which was uploaded on November 7, 2021. This vlog showed the structure as well, which indicated that the structure was not established recently.
We then conducted a keyword search with the keywords "Jyotisar" and "Shrine" and came across a report by Dainik Jagran published on 10th May 2022. As per the report, a person had covered a Hindu structure with a blue sheet at the Gita Upadesh site in the Jyotisar shrine located in Kurukshetra.
The report mentions Naresh Bharadwaj, a member of an NGO called 'Green Earth', who asked the police to investigate the matter. The Dainik Jagran report states that the family who built the Bhorkha (the place of worship for the ancestors of Hindus) at the Gita Upadesh site say that it was built in the memory of their ancestors.
The Logical Indian team contacted Naresh Bharadwaj, who clarified that the structure was built by a Brahmin family in the memory of their ancestors. He had come across the structure with the blue cloth on it, when he was planting tree saplings in the compound of the temple.
"They had not laid the blue cloth on it which is seen in the video. The structure is not related to any Muslim religious practice. We had suggested the family change the shape of the religious structure or relocate the structure out of concerns of religious tensions. They then relocated the structure from the temple compound and shifted it to their farm", said Naresh.
The Logical Indian team also reached out to Akhil Pilani, the Additional Deputy Commissioner of Kurukshetra. He reiterated the claims made by Bharadwaj, stating that the structure was lifted from the compound of the temple and relocated nearer to their home.
"There is no involvement of Muslims or any communal angle in this incident, this is a place for Hindu Brahmins to pay respects to their forefathers" he asserted.
With Naresh's help, we contacted Vinod Sharma, a member of the family which had installed the structure near the Gita Updesh Sthali. Sharma told The Logical Indian that his family had constructed the structure several years ago. He stated that as things escalated with the rumours of the structure being a Muslim shrine, we shifted it from the Gita Updesh Sthali to our farm."
Sharma asserted that the structure was a Hindu shrine built by a Brahmin family. We also came across a BBC report published on 13 May 2022 which included this latest image of the location seen in the viral video. It can be clearly seen that the structure has been removed from the location.
It is evident from the statements of Akhil Pilani, the Additional Deputy Commissioner of Kurukshetra, Naresh Bharadwaj, and Vinod Sharma, a member of the family which had installed the structure, the structure was installed by a Hindu Brahmin family. The structure is a 'Bhorkha', which is a tradition among Hindu families in Haryana, established in the memory of ancestors. There is no communal angle to the incident as the blue cloth was placed on the structure by a mischievous person looking to create communal tensions. Hence, the viral claim is false.
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