Hyderabad: A news report published on the Shia Waves English, a Shiite news outlet, has images of broken idols with the claim that Indians are throwing thousands of idols on the streets as they are losing faith in God amid the surging cases of Coronavirus. This link was then attached to several tweets and has become viral on social media with the caption, "Indians throw thousands of idols on the street for not protecting them against the virus."
Shia Waves English also published a video report which was tweeted by Canadian columnist Tarek Fatah and has garnered over 490 retweets at the time of writing the article.
The video showed a bulldozer picking up idols from a road as a news presenter narrates in the background, "The Indians expressed their anger at the idols that they worshiped and sacrificed themselves for but which did not protect them from the Coronavirus. 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." This video has now been deleted by Shia Waves English.
The video is fake and is not related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
In a reply to IAS officer Vijay Nehra's tweet in April 2019 on citizens deciding to keep the Sabarmati river clean by not immersing Dashama idols in the river, a user posted the same viral video of a bulldozer picking up idols from the street. The first half of the video refers to an incident that took place in 2019 on Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation's request to leave idols on the banks of the Sabarmati to prevent pollution. The Hindu and Gujarati outlet Sandesh also covered the incident.
The second half of the video has been on the internet since 2015 and was found on a Facebook post from September 2015. The video was taken when idols were being tipped from into the Krishna river in the state of Telangana in 2015, as part of the immersion ceremony at the conclusion of a festival in honour of the Hindu god Ganesh.
As the viral video contained clips from incidents that took place in 2015 and 2019, it is clear that the video is fake and not related to COVID-19. Secondly, although NewsMeter could not trace the date of the image used in the article, it almost certainly the ritual of immersion in honour of the Goddess Durga.
Evidently, the viral video and article claiming that Indian citizens are throwing idols away as they are losing hope in God amid the COVID crisis are fake. The video and its image used are unrelated to the pandemic.