No, a Temple Was Not Found in Karnataka After Mosque’s Demolition

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A Twitter handle @umagarghi tweeted an image of a temple with a message, “When a mosque was demolished in Raichur in Karnataka for widening a road, they found this temple. We need to demolish all mosques.”

Several users have tweeted the same image with the identical narrative. Ramani Parasuraman was one of the first users to post this image on Facebook.

Photoshopped image used to claim temple found on demolition of mosque in Karnataka from Alt News on Vimeo.

What is the Truth?

The image that is being circulated – claiming that a temple was found after the demolition of a mosque – is actually a digital creation of an artist.

At the bottom right of the image, a logo with the text, ‘Chandra Colourist’ can be seen. This indicated that the image was the creation of an artist.

We found a Facebook account named Chandra Colourist that had posted the same image on 8 May 2016.

To a question posed by a commentator on his post about the location of the temple, the artist confirmed that it was his digital creation.

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When we did a Google reverse-search for this image, we found a photograph clicked by Meiqianbao on 12 April 2016, based on which Chandra possibly created the above digital creation.

When the two images are examined carefully, many features in the image created by Chandra can be seen in the image below.

According to the American photo stock agency Shutterstock, the above photograph is of Longmen Grottoes-Fengxian temple stone Buddhas in Luoyang, Henan in China.

Thus, the photo that is currently being used to claim that it depicts the remains of a temple discovered after the demolition of a mosque in Raichur, Karnataka, is an artist’s digital creation.

Which brings us to our next question: Was a temple ever found after the demolition of a mosque in Raichur?

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Not The First Time: False Claims Since 2016

We found a different set of images with almost identical texts, which have been circulating on social media websites since 2016.

Mahesh Vikram Hegde, the founder of the fake news website Postcard News and KP Ganesh, both accounts that are followed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Twitter, claimed that during the demolition of a mosque for the purposes of road widening, a temple was found.

CONgressMuktBharat had tweeted an identical claim on 11 April 2016, which was retweeted more than 1,500 times. A website named Struggle for Hindu Existence also wrote an article with the same narrative.

Alt News contacted the former Raichur district magistrate under whom the orders for road-widening were passed in 2016.

He said, “The information that is being shared on social media is untrue. When the demolition happened in Raichur, there were some traditional buildings. Ek Minar, which is a very old structure, was one of the buildings that was demolished for road widening. Such old structures have a variety of carvings and it cannot be concluded that it was originally a temple from just one pillar. Some groups tried to make this claim, but when they were countered, they did not pursue the claim.”

Thus, while the present claim being circulated on social media is using a digital creation of an artist, the original claim in 2016 was based on an incorrect interpretation of the underlying architecture as confirmed by the official.

This also shows the need for more media organisations to invest in fact-checking. Misleading claims are circulated repeatedly on social media, with the media organisations not doing enough to counter such false claims and inform the populace.

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(This article has been published in arrangement with Alt News)

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