A post is being shared on social media which claims that Muslims of Kerala have demanded a ban on the chant Om, which is sacred for Hindus. The post contains a screengrab of a Times Now news clip, the text on which states Islamists oppose Om. Let’s fact-check this claim through this article.
Claim: Muslims of Kerala have demanded a ban on the sacred ‘Om’ chant because it is against Islam.
Fact: The screengrab of the news clip is from a Times Now report on an incident that happened in a school in Kerala. As per media reports, two teachers of a Kerala government school were sent on leave when the school administration received complaints from parents over their children getting pamphlets with religious symbols. There are no reports of Muslims in Kerala demanding a ban on Om. Hence the claim made in the post is Misleading.
The viral post contains a screengrab of a Times Now report in which we found the text #OmNotAllowed. We searched the internet and found a tweet by Times Now and a news report. The tweet reads ‘#Breaking | ‘Islamists’ oppose ‘Om’ in Kerala. 2 teachers have been punished for writing ‘Om.’’ A video report that is embedded in the post has a frame at 1.50 that matches with the screenshot that is in the post.
The news report on this incident by Times Now also contains the same video. Several other media outlets have also reported on this incident that happened in February 2020, which can be read here, here and here. Reportedly, two teachers of a government school in Kerala were sent on leave for distributing pamphlets with Om.
A probe was conducted by the school’s administration on this issue and was submitted to the government. A senior official of the Educational Department told NDTV ‘There were efforts from certain parties to give it a communal agenda and spark religious tension. But the locals and the Parents’ Teachers Association did not allow them to take matters in their hands.’
Nowhere in the news reports (here, here and here) which covered this incident is the mention of Muslims of Kerala demanding a ban on Om, which the viral post claims. Searching the internet also did not yield any relevant information.
To sum up, this social media post falsely claims that Muslims of Kerala have demanded a ban on the sacred ‘Om’ chant because it is against Islam.