A photo of a black-stone plaque laid in the premises of Mumbai’s Zoo on which ‘Veer Mata Jijabai Bhosale Udyan and Zoo’, also known as ‘Rani Baugh’, is written is being widely shared on social media platforms with a claim that it has been renamed to a Muslim seer, Hazrat Haji Peer Baba Rani Bagh.
Devang Dave, an ex-national convener of BJP youth wing IT cell, posted the same photo on his verified Twitter handle @DevangVDave with the caption in Marathi; ही आता नुसती राणीची बाग नव्हे बरं का! आता हजरत हाजी पीर बाबा राणी बाग असं म्हणायचं. [Translation – Isn’t this just a queen’s garden now? Now Hazrat Haji Peer Baba used to say Rani Bagh] Archive | Tweet
BJP MLA and son of Union Minister, Narayan Rane Nitesh Rane, also tweeted the viral photo with the same claim to criticize Shiv Sena leader and Maharashtra CM Udhav Thackeray and wrote in the caption; तमाम #हिंदूच्या मॅांसाहेब जिजामाता भोसले यांच्या नावाने असलेले वीर जिजामाता उद्यानाचे नाव रातोरात बदलून हजरत पीर बाबा अशी कोनशीला लावून बदलले आहे. आता सत्तेच्या लाचारीसाठी मा. बाळासाहेबांच्या #ShivSena चं नाव बदलणार का? @UdhavThakre @mybmc. Archive | Tweet
[Translation – Veer Jijamata Udyan, named after Tamam #हिंदूच्या Mansaheb Jijamata Bhosale, has been renamed as Hazrat Peer Baba overnight. Now for the helplessness of power, Hon. Will Balasaheb’s #ShivSena name be changed? HavUdhavThakre @mybmc]
We found the photo viral with the same claim on Facebook as well. One of the members of a Facebook page, राष्ट्रप्रथम, with over 48k members posted the same viral photo.
FactO Check – We tried using relevant keyword search to find media reports about the alleged renaming of Mumbai’s Zoo to a Muslim seer, Hazrat Haji Peer Baba Rani Bagh, but we didn’t find any related news article. It is to be noted that if there was any news of the renaming of the Zoo, there would have been a published report of the same.
We then did a reversed search of the viral image which helped us in finding the official social media accounts of the zoo available by the name, The Mumbai Zoo, where they have officially released an explanation on the viral photo and posted it both on their Facebook and Twitter accounts with the caption in Marathi that reads in English; There is a Dargah at one end of Rani Bagh. His name is Hajrat Haji Peer Baba Ranibagwale. This Dargah has been there since the establishment of Rani Bagh in 1861. The board seen in the photo is just a directional board showing the location of the Dargah. Earlier, the name of the Garden was Queen Victoria’s Garden which was later renamed ‘Veermata Jijabai Bhosale Udyan’.
We also found a YouTube video that shows the entrance gate of the Zoo on which ‘Veer Mata Jijabai Bhosale Udyan And Zoo’ is written in Marathi. Besides, as per the report of News18 Lokmat, Mayor Kishori Pednekar also denied all claims of BJP MLA, Nitesh Rane, and cited “This cornerstone did not come suddenly. I have personally visited Rani’s garden. There is a very old place called Peer Baba. It is on one side. So, there is no question of changing the name of Veer Jijamata Rani’s garden to Peer Baba.”
Conclusion – It is clear that the Zoo name has not been changed and the claims are false and misleading.