Odisha Train Accident: Communal spin falsely claims presence of mosque near crash

There is no mosque at the crash site.

By Sunanda Naik  Published on  6 Jun 2023 1:57 PM GMT
Odisha Train Accident: Communal spin falsely claims presence of mosque near crash

Hyderabad: Several social media users claim that there is a communal conspiracy behind the recent train tragedy in Orissa’s Balasore.

Days after the worst train tragedy witnessed in India in recent times, resulting in over 278 deaths, several social media users have shared unverified posts on social media claiming communal propaganda behind the accident with the intention to spark nuisance and unrest.

The viral post claimed that there was a mosque near the accident spot and that the station master of the Bahanga Bazar Station was Mohammed Sharif. Since the accident occurred on Friday, the crash was also linked to Friday prayers.

Fact Check

NewsMeter found the claims to be false.

Claim 1: The structure near the accident spot is a mosque.

On closely analyzing the accident site uploaded on various social media platforms, we found a white religious structure adjacent to the accident site. For clarity, we used Google Earth to spot the structure and found out that it is actually a Hindu temple, Bahanga ISKCON Temple.

To be more precise, we contacted Aditya Kumar Chaudhry, Chief Public Relations Officer (CPRO), for South Eastern Railways, who clarified that the structure is not a mosque but the same Bahanga ISKCON Temple.

(Source: Screengrab from Google Earth)

We scanned the web for credible news reports mentioning Mohammed Sharif as the station master of Bahanga Bazar railway station. Still, we could not yield any report mentioning anyone by the name of Mohammed Sharif.

Moreover, we found a report published by Kalinga TV, where it has been reported that the Assistant station master of Bahanga Bazar railway station is SB Mohanty, who was on duty and had fled from the spot after the accident took place.

NewsMeter has already published a fact check where Aditya Kumar Chaudhry confirmed to NewsMeter that SB Mohanty is the assistant station master of Bahanga Bazar railway station. He also refuted the claim that SB Mohanty fled after the accident. “Mohanty was present at the accident spot and was actively involved in the rescue operation,” Chaudhry added.

As per a report from Kalinga TV, he is currently being interrogated by the Railway Safety Commissioner Team.

Lastly, taking to Twitter, the Odisha police warned the social media handles that are giving communal colour to the tragic accident. The Odisha police tweet reads, “It has come to notice that some social media handles are mischievously giving communal colour to the tragic train accident at Balasore. This is highly unfortunate. Investigation by the GRP, Odisha into the cause and all other aspects of the accident is going on.”

Another tweet reads, “We appeal to all concerned to desist from circulating such false and ill-motivated posts. Severe legal action will be initiated against those who are trying to create communal disharmony by spreading rumors.”

Claim Review:Presence of mosque near crash site
Claimed By:Social media user
Claim Reviewed By:NewsMeter
Claim Source:Facebook
Claim Fact Check:False
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