Journalist Sakshi Joshi today took to Twitter to annunciate that the Tirumala Tirupati temple has discreetly shut the temple doors following the police crackdown on Tablighi Jamaat in Delhi’s Nizamuddin, which has emerged as the latest hotspot for the contagion in India. Sharing a report by India Today titled: “Covid-19: First time in 128 years, Tirumala Tirupati temple closes doors to pilgrims”, Sakshi further insinuates that the temple shutting its doors for the public is a shame as it would continue to offer pooja in seclusion.
चलो इन्होंने भी एहसान कर दिया आखिरकार मंदिर बंद करके । देखा होगा #TablighiJamaat टारगेट पर है। हम चुपके से बंद करके निकल लेते हैं। किसी को पता नहीं चलेगा।— Sakshi Joshi (@sakshijoshii) April 1, 2020
लेकिन पूजा अब भी नहीं रुकेगी। एकांत में चलती रहेगी। क्यों? https://t.co/SENJKQzZMW
Twitter going by the handle @attomeybharti was, however, quick to school the journalist. Sharing snapshots of an article by The Hindu Business Line, dated March 19, Bharti confirmed that what Sakshi Joshi was insinuating was fake news as the temple had closed on March 19 itself in view of the countrywide lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19.
This @sakshijoshii is spreading fake news that Tirumala Tirupati temple was closed *after* illegal Tablighi congregation was caught.— Spaminder Bharti (@attomeybharti) April 1, 2020
Fact: The temple had closed on 19 March itself, i.e. 2 weeks ago.
(h/t @BhojpuriSuper) pic.twitter.com/PwbPm2u89Y
The India Today report which Sakshi had shared to authenticate her claims, had only stated that the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam board which manages the hill abode of Lord Venkateswara had decided to continue the suspension of the Srivari (Lord) darshan at Srivari temple (main temple) for pilgrims till April 14, in view of the nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19, however, it nowhere mentioned when the temple had shut, and does not say that it was shut after the Tablighi Jamaat incident.
Since this report by India Today was published on March 31, Sakshi promptly connected it to the Tablighi Jamaat event. Had she done a little bit of research she would not make a fool of herself on the social media platform. There are not one but umpteen reports on the internet which show that the temple was closed for devotees more than ten days ago.
It is pertinent to note here that while the Tirumala Tirupati temple had shut its doors for its pilgrims on March 19, the police crackdown on Tablighi Jamaat in Delhi’s Nizamuddin happened only two days back. So Sakshi’s claims that the temple slyly shut in the backdrop of the Nizamuddin clampdown is a complete fabrication of facts.
For the uninitiated, journalist Sakshi Joshi has earlier too, tried to pull off such dirty tricks. Along with her husband and filmmaker Vinod Kapri, Sakshi had accused journalist Abhishek Upadhyay of conspiring to get Kapri killed and filed an FIR against him accusing him of writing a Facebook post, alleging that he has indulged in her character assassination.
Her bogus claim followed journalist Abhishek Upadhyay claims that filmmaker Vinod Kapri had faked an adoption story for self-promotion and to promote his movie-Pihu. He had also alleged that a company named “Bhagirathi Films Private Limited” privately owned by the husband-wife duo could be a front for money laundering.