FactCheck:- Have Indians Abandoned their Gods as They Failed To save them from Covid-19?

Coronavirus False

Several users and media outlets, especially outside India, have been claiming that people in India are angry with their gods and are smashing their idols because they failed to protect them from Covid-19. 

In viral post, visuals of thousands of idols are seen lying on the street and people seemingly throwing Ganesh idols off the bridge are being interpreted as disillusioned Indians destroying Hindu gods. 

This is a false claim. Video and images of idols lying on the street and being released into the river are old and not related to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic in India.

Fact Crescendo received many fact-check requests about this video on our WhatsApp FactLine (9049053770).

WHAT’S THE CLAIM?

In a widely shared video of a news report by Shia Waves on social media, the news-reader says: A large number of Indians have thrown the idols of the gods they worshiped on the streets…They prayed to the idols because they believed that it could save them from the virus, but they finally discovered that they could not do anything and hence they destroyed it

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The same report was published on the Shia Waves website. (Archive)

Similar claims are also viral in Cambodia as well. By sharing images of idols lying on the street, posts in the Khmer language claimed that “Hindu sects have abandoned their worshiped Gods, all over the streets and bars because God has not helped them to escape Covid-19.” (Facebook Translation)

FACT CHECK

First, let’s debunk the Shia Waves news report. 

The first video clip showed the news bulleting shows a bulldozer collecting the idols from the street. 

Google reverse image search led us to various news reports about Dashama visarjan in Ahmedabad, Gujrat. 

The then Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation Vijay Nehra had taken an initiative of Swachh Sabarmati (river) Abhiyan in 2019. 

In order to avoid water pollution, Nehra had asked the city residents not to immerse goddess Dashama idols in the Sabarmati River.

Giving the overwhelming response to the initiative, the devotees had left the idols on the street instead of releasing them in the river. 

Nehra himself had tweeted the photos and video of idols lying on the street and thanked the people for their support.

“Ordinary citizens have decided to keep Sabarmati River clean. Instead of immersing Dashama idols in the river, they have respectfully left them on the banks. Our cities and rivers will be clean when people become partners in this change,” he said in a series of tweets on 11 August 2019.

In reply to Nehra’s tweet, a user had posted the video of a bulldozer collecting the idols from the street. The date of the tweet is 11 August 2019.

This clearly shows that the clip pre-dates the Covid-19 that first emerged in December 2019. 

Now let’s check the second clip of people immersing idols in the river.

The same video is available on YouTube since 2015. A Facebook user had also uploaded this video on 29 September 2015. AFP had located this video in the town of Beechupally in the state of Telangana. 

“Afterwards the idol becomes ordinary statue and visarjan is to be done as some may say. Though the idol is gone, Ganesha lives forever!” says the caption in the post. 

The Ganesh visarjan was on 27 September 2015 that year. 

Hence, this clip is also old and has nothing to do with the Covid-19 pandemic.

WHAT IS VISARJAN?

Dashama Festival and Ganesh Festival are celebrated in many states in India. People worship the idol of goddess Dashama and the god Ganesh and perform special pujas for 10 days. 

On the last day, people immerse the idols in water bodies. The immersion of an idol is called visarjan. It is a part of the ritual and not a sign of disrespect. 

However, idols made of Plaster of Paris (POP) and painted with hazardous colours cause severe water pollution and are not biodegradable, The Hindu reports.

CONCLUSION

Using old and unrelated clips of Dashama and Ganesh idol immersion, it is being falsely claimed that people are destroying Hindu deities because they did not protect them from Covid-19. These clips have nothing to do with the Covid-19 situation in India.

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Title:FactCheck:- Have Indians Abandoned their Gods as They Failed To save them from Covid-19?

Fact Check By: Mayur Deokar 

Result: False