Udayavni Special

Fake news of Church attacks circulate on Social media

Team Udayavani, May 18, 2018, 2:35 PM IST

Mangaluru: Fake news involving church attacks were circulated to instigate fear among people on counting day, May 16. The material involved a series of old and misleading videos and images involving a few churches in Mangaluru and surrounding areas.

Following the announcement of Assembly election results on Tuesday, May 16 where 12 out of 13 seats in the coastal districts of Udupi and Dakshina Kannada were won by Bharathiya Janata Party (BJP), and hence these fake photos and videos went viral.

Police and church authorities received several calls to verify the incidents. Media houses too have been questioned.

Case no 1

A person named Mohammed Mohsin posted a video on Twitter on May 16, says that BJP and Sangh Parivar members attacked a church in Mangaluru and tried to hoist BJP flags to celebrate the party’s victory.

It later came to light that the video is actually about ten years old. The church in the video is Saint Sebastian church in Permannur near Ullal. A YouTube clip with TV9’s logo surfaced showing police rounding up people and making them sit on the ground, exactly like the tweet.

The video dates back to the 2008 riots between August and September when over two dozen churches and several Christian prayer centers were attacked or vandalized in Dakshina Kannada, Udupi and Chikkamagaluru districts allegedly by Bajrang Dal activists. B S Yeddyurappa was the chief minister then.

Case no 2

Another clip went viral on Facebook and WhatsApp which shows police storming the same St Sebastian Church. The video is similar to an Al Jazeera news report from 2008 which can be viewed on Youtube.

Case no 3 – Photo

Another photo that was circulated on social media shows supporters of BJP in front of St Lawrence Church Bondel on the evening of May 15. The image shows BJP supporters in front of the church celebrating their victory.

However the message with the photo alleges that BJP workers have already
begun disrupting the peace in the society after their party’s victory in the assembly elections.

The fact is, BJP supporters came together at that spot because St Lawrence Church is located near a junction connecting Kavoor, Padavinangadi and Vamanjoor, which is situated very close to the counting centre.

Police had blocked the road at the junction leading to the counting centre for security reasons which led to people gathering in front of the church. 

The only way they could receive the election results was through the news display board outside the Daijiworld Corporate Office situated right opposite the church.

The crowd cheered every single time they saw BJP gaining upper hand in multiple constituencies. The churche in the background and BJP workers with flags right in front of it paved the way for some anti-social elements to capture that photo and circulate it with evil motives.

Case no 4 – Photo

Another photo claims that a Christian community in Karnataka has built a ‘Lingayat Church’, which is quite confusing and evidently false. The photo was some doctored using editing software. The letter ‘h’ is added to the ‘Lingayat’ word.

A fact check revealed that the photo is actually of Our Lady of Dolours Church in Dahanu, Maharashtra. The images of the church were posted in a blog in 2012.The fake board in front of the church was added using an editing software.

Police and church authorities in Mangaluru have said that no such event concerning any church has taken place anywhere in the region. They have requested the public refrain from circulating such material.

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