In the wake of a recent attack on ISKCON temple by a Muslim mob in Bangladesh, a social media post accompanying an image of a monk serving food to Muslim men is being shared widely. The post claims that the monk is Swamy Nitai Das and he has been killed in the recent attacks on the ISKCON temple in Bangladesh. Let’s fact-check the claim made in the post.
Claim: Image of ISKCON monk from Bangladesh who died in the recent attacks on Hindus in Bangladesh.
Fact: ISKCON’s report related to latest attacks in Bangladesh did not name any deceased with the name Swamy Nithai Das. The image is from Iftar hosted by ISKCON Mayapurin West Bengal back in 2016. ISKCON Mayapur also confirmed the same and stated that the monk in the image is Ivan Antic and he is very much safe and alive. Hence the claim made in the post is FALSE.
ISKCON released a report on the recent attacks in Bangladesh. As per this report, two devotees named Pranta Chandra Das and Jatan Chandra Saha were killed in the attack on ISKCON Choumoni, whereas another devotee Nimai Chandra Das was hospitalized. However, the report did not name any deceased with the name Swamy Nithai Das. Further, we could not find any news reports stating the death of a monk with the name Swamy Nithai Das in the recent attacks.
On the other hand, the image shared in the post dates back to 2016 and has nothing to do with Bangladesh. Reverse image search of this photo led us to an article that published the same image. As per the article, ISKCON Mayapur in West Bengal had hosted Iftar for Muslims as part of a celebration of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness’ 50th anniversary. Following the Iftar, these men also offered their evening prayers inside the temple.
The description of the image reads ‘a monk from the International Society for Krishna Consciousness offers sweetmeats to Muslims during Iftar at the Hindu group’s temple in Mayapur’. This suggests that the image has nothing to do with Bangladesh ISKCON as claimed in the post.
Further, in their correspondence with BOOM, a fact-checking agency, ISKCON National director of communications Yudhisthir Govind Das confirmed that the picture is from ISKCON Mayapur (West Bengal).
Das told BOOM that he was present in the Iftar organised on the ISKCON Mayapur complex in 2016 and he identified the man in the viral picture as Ivan Antic, a native of Pula in Croatia. He further added that Ivan’s deeksha name is Nitayi Das and he had returned to Croatia before the Coronavirus pandemic, and he is safe and alive.
To sum it up, an old image of a monk serving food to Muslim men is shared as the ISKCON monk killed in recent Bangladesh communal clashes.