A set of images showing the dead body of a man hanging from a tree is being circulated to claim that a priest in UP’s Sultanpur was ‘killed’ for allegedly having an argument with “peacefuls” – a sarcastic reference to Muslims in context of the oft-made statement that Islam is a ‘religion of peace’.
However, speaking to The Quint, SHO of Chanda, an area in Sultanpur district, said that it was a case of suicide and that there is no communal angle to the incident. He further said that the post mortem report also reveals that it was a “death by hanging.”
The claim reads: “सुल्तानपुर में मंदिर के पुजारी "सत्येंद्र आनंद सरस्वती" का शव पेड़ पर लटका मिला, मेरठ के बाद अब सुल्तानपुर में इस पुजारी की हत्या इसलिए कर दी गई क्योंकि ये मंदिर परिसर में सावन मास की पूजा घंटा संख बजाकर पूरे विधि विधान के साथ कर रहे थे शांतिदूतों को अच्छा नही लगा?”
(Translated: The body of Satyendra Anand Saraswati, priest in a temple in Sultanpur, was found hanging from a tree. After Meerut, a priest was killed in Sultanpur because he was doing Sawan puja, did peacefuls not like it?)
A Twitter user Deeksha Pandey had shared the image mentioning that the body was found hanging after he had an argument with “peacefuls” over Sawan puja. Her tweet had garnered over 4,500 retweets at the time of publishing the article.
The post shared by Facebook page Pushpendra Kulshreshth Supporters had garnered 175 shares at the time of publishing the article.
Several Twitter users have shared the image claiming that the priest was killed.
WHAT WE FOUND OUT
We found that Sultanpur police had tweeted that the incident took place in Chhatauna in Sultanpur’s Chanda wherein the body of priest Satyendra Nand Saraswati ji Maharaj was found hanging from a tree and that he died by suicide.
SHO चांदा द्वारा अवगत कराया गया कि ग्राम- छतौना में एक पत्ता बाबा मंदिर पर सतेन्द्रा नन्द सरस्वती जी महाराज उम्र-25वर्ष लगभग ने पेड़ की डाल में अंगौछा से फांसी लगाकर आत्महत्या कर ली ।पुलिस द्वारा पंचायतनामा की कार्यवाही कर शव को पोस्टमार्टम हेतु भेजा गया है।— Sultanpur Police (@PROCell19) July 23, 2020
An article published in Navbharat Times on 23 July mentioned that locals were discussing whether it was a case of suicide or whether the priest murdered.
Speaking to The Quint, SHO Chanda denied any communal angle to the incident and said that the post-mortem report has revealed that it was a “death by hanging.”
“These are fake narratives being circulated on social media. It was a case of suicide. The post mortem report also says that it was death by hanging. His family members had also come and they were satisfied with the investigation. The family members have also not accused anybody in the matter. There was no angle of personal enmity either,” he added.
Meanwhile, a local reporter, too, told The Quint that the matter does not involve two communities and that it was a case of suicide. He further said that the priest used to live alone.
Evidently, social media users falsely gave a communal angle to the death of a priest in Sultanpur.
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