On Saturday (November 13), the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) debunked fake news about the vandalism of a mosque in the Gomati district of Tripura. The development comes amidst deteriorating law and order situation in Maharashtra over alleged violence against Muslims in the North-Eastern State.
In a statement, the MHA informed, “There have been news reports that have been circulating that a mosque in Kakraban area of Gomati district in Tripura has been damaged and vandalized. These news reports are fake and are a complete misrepresentation of facts. The mosque in Dargabazar area of Kakraban has not been damaged and the Tripura Police in Gomati district is working to maintain peace and tranquillity.”
The MHA statement further read, “There have been news reports that have been circulating that a mosque in Kakraban area of Gomati district in Tripura has been damaged and vandalized. These news reports are fake and are a complete misrepresentation of facts. There is no reported case of damage of the structure of any Masjid in Tripura in the recent past. There is no report of simple or grievous injury or rape or death of any person in these incidents as alleged in some social media posts.”
The Ministry of Home Affairs warned that fake news about mosque vandalism in Tripura could be weaponised to disturb the tranquillity in others parts of India. “People should maintain calm and should not be misguided by such fake reports. For instance, in Maharashtra there have been reports of violence and unsavoury statements that are aimed at disturbing peace and harmony, based on fake news regarding Tripura. This is very concerning and it is urged that peace is maintained at all costs,” it added.
Fake news on ‘vandalism of mosque in Tripura’
One of the earliest reports of the fake news on vandalism of a mosque in the Gomati district of Tripura stemmed from a tweet posted by ‘journalist’ Mahmodul Hassan. In a tweet on Saturday (November 13), Hassan had alleged that the Darga Bazar Mosque in Gomati was burnt on the night of October 20. He also claimed that by the time firefighters had come to douse the fire, about 60-70% of the mosque had burnt. He added, “The mosque was among the first to be attacked and burnt done in Tripura, said locals”
While reporting for News9, he claimed, “We spoke to several people who witnessed burning of the mosque. None of them could corroborate who was behind the act, but most of them said it was an act by “miscreants” because there was no chance that the mosque would catch fire by itself.” Hassan has earlier worked for propaganda sites such as the Quint and the Caravan.
Tripura police had rubbished fake news about mosque being burnt in Panisagar
Last month, the Tripura police responded to viral videos and news related to the alleged vandalism of a mosque in Panisagar during a protest march in the State. Tripura Police had categorically denied any such incident took place and said that an FIR against the viral fake posts on social media platforms.
The cops also said that certain persons are spreading fake news and rumour on Tripura by using fake social media IDs. The police added that pictures being shared of burning or damaged mosques or collections of sticks etc are all fake and are not from Tripura. Over a hundred Twitter accounts were booked under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) for spreading misinformation regarding the violence at Panisagar.