On social media, a video showing a man praying at a Prayagraj temple has gone viral with a communal narrative. A local news website called UttarPradesh.org reported the viral video alleging that the man was offering namaz inside the temple.
The UttarPradesh.org tweeted the video with the caption, “Prayagraj: A video of a young man allegedly offering Namaz at Hanuman temple, located near Hanumat Niketan, Civil Lines, Prayagraj is going #Virals on social media. he man in beard donning Gamcha can be seen taking his hands up to the ear and then prostrate”. The link to the post can be found here.
The mouthpiece of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) Panchjanya also posted the same video with the claim that the man is offering Namaz at the Hanuman temple in Prayagraj.
The video was captioned as “A man has been seen offering Namaz in Hanuman temple. The event occurred at the Hanuman temple of Prayagraj’s civil lines area. The archive link to the post can be found here.
The same video was also uploaded by a “special correspondent ” at Panchjanya @kashmirashwani. The tweet’s English translation is as follows: “Prayagraj: Man can be seen offering namaz inside renowned Civil Line Hanuman temple. The police have initiated an inquiry into the matter and said that such a matter will be dealt strictly. The archive link to the post can be found here.
To verify the authenticity of the viral claims, we did a relevant keywords search and the results led us to a post by the Prayagraj Police. In a tweet by Prayagraj Police’s official Twitter account, the police said that it has identified the man as Vaibhav Tripathi and he regularly visits the temple.
The police released a statement and an explanatory video of the man. In the video, the man identified as Vaibhav can be clearly heard saying that he often visits the temple and is a devotee of Thakur jee.
A full video of the man in question can be watched here.
He was sitting in “Vajrasan,” a stance often used by Hindus while doing yoga or saying prayers. He argues that some individuals mistook his religious affiliation for something else based on his looks and gave it a divisive twist, Vaibhav explained in the video.
The police have urged the public to stop spreading rumors of any kind that would jeopardize social harmony.
Area’s Senior Superintendent of Police Shailesh Pandey has also clarified that no namaz has been offered in the Hanuman temple and he outrightly refutes all the claims. A link to the SSP’s clarification can be found here.
Conclusion: Since Vaibhav Tripathi’s identity has been verified by the police, the claim that namaz was being offered within the Hanuman temple are false and misleading.