Video of a muslim man breaking the entrance of a temple like structure with a sledgehammer is being widely shared on social media. The post claims that it shows muslims demolishing an ancient temple in Andhra Pradesh. Let’s verify the claim made in the post.
Claim: Visuals of a Muslim man demolishing an ancient Hindu temple in Andhra Pradesh.
Fact: The incident shown in the video took place in Guntur, Andhra Pradesh on 12 October 2022. According to the media reports and Guntur police, the structure shown in the video is not a temple. It is ‘Hazrat Baji Baba Nishan’ Dargah built by a converted-Muslim person named Rahman alias Yesu Ratnam 40 years ago. As a tribute to his late wife Naga Ratnamma, he put snakes along with star and crescent at the entrance of the structure. Locals irrespective of religion used to worship there. But after the death of Rahman few years ago, his daughter and others claimed that his father wanted a mosque to be built at this place and tried demolishing it on 12 October 2022. This outraged locals who wanted to keep the existing structure. Hence the claim made in the post is FALSE.
We searched the internet with relevant keywords and found several news articles regarding this issue. They can read here, here, and here. According to these reports, on 12 October 2022, some unidentified people tried to demolish ‘Hazrat Baji Baba Nishan’ Dargah located at LR colony, Guntur, Andhra Pradesh. People belonging to all the communities have been offering prayers at the dargah for the past 40 years. When the landowner died a few years ago, the locals used to maintain it and also collected money for its repair work. However, a few people on 12 October 2022 attempted to demolish the dargah, claiming that they will construct a new mosque at that place.
After enquiring into the issue, Lalapet police station Circle Inspector Prabhakar, said “Yesu Ratnam alias Rehman along with his wife Naga Ratnamma used to live in Guntur’s LR colony. After his wife’s death around 40 years ago, he built a Dargah like structure (memorial) and offered prayers there. Other residents also used to visit this place irrespective of their religion. After Yesu Ratnam’s death a few years ago, his daughter Sathyavathi and members of a nearby Mosque in Sangadi Gunta claimed that Yesu Ratnam wanted a mosque to be built in this dargah’s place after his death. On, 12 October 2022, some unknown persons tried to demolish the compound wall, while the locals protested it. The entire incident is regarding the land dispute and not a communal one. Strict action will be taken on people who spread false information about this incident on social media.”
“Rahman was a Christian, and he later converted to Islam, his late wife’s name was Naga Ratnamma, and thats why he put Nag (snakes) statue and he also put moon and star at the dargah. However, those sharing fake news are only pointing to the nag statue,” said Prabhakar in an interview with Boom. The visuals of then entrance can be seen here
Also, during an investigation by Guntur district waqf board inspector Mukhtar Basha, the locals revealed that this place doesn’t contain grave of any Muslim person. According to Times of India, Dargahs are shrines built on the graves of religious figures. As on date, the locals are urging the state government to look into this issue and do them justice.
To sum it up, a land dispute over a Muslim man’s memorial is shared with a false communal narrative.