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Ayodhya temple: The misleading social media posts shared in India

By Reality Check
BBC News

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image captionThe dispute over the site in Ayodhya has been going on for years
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi has laid the foundation stone for a Hindu temple in the town of Ayodhya in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh.
The inauguration ceremony for the temple is a highly controversial one following a Supreme Court ruling last year which gave Hindu groups rights over the formerly disputed site. It was on this site that a mosque was destroyed by a Hindu mob in 1992, sparking riots in which nearly 2,000 people died in the country.
There's been intense speculation in Indian social media about the ceremony and plans for the temple design, some of it highly misleading.
We've been looking at some of the most widely shared.

1. This is not the new temple layout

Well before images of the Ram temple design were released by the government this week, speculation led to some creative posts online as to what it might look like.
A graphic animation created in 2014 to represent a Jain temple has been circulating, purporting to be an image of the new temple in Ayodhya.
Posts shared of Facebook and Twitter have the text: "This will be the grand temple of our Lord Shri Ram. The tarpaulin is removed from the land of my Lord's birth, India is moving towards a new direction. Ayodhya is calling, construct the temple".
A simple reverse image search, however, reveals that the original video was created by an architectural design studio based in Maharashtra.

2. No, this is not the Ram temple inauguration venue

Another widely shared video claims to show grand decorations in preparation for the inauguration of the new temple - a grandly lit hall decked out with candles and flowers.
But again, a reverse image search shows this video has nothing to do with the Ram temple or its inauguration.
It's actually a video of a ceremony taking place in the south Indian state of Telangana.
The deity appearing in the video is Lord Vishnu, not Lord Ram.
The Indian media has been reporting that the temple town of Ayodhya has had a facelift ahead of the ceremony, but this video is completely unrelated.

3. These pilgrims were headed to Ayodhya, but it was last year

A video of men wearing saffron loincloths, walking on foot in the rain with a brick each on their heads has gone viral with the claim that they are walking towards Ayodhya, covering a distance of 1,800 km on foot ahead of the temple inauguration.
One Twitter post sharing the video has been viewed over 100,000 times.
The video certainly is of a pilgrimage to Ayodhya, but it was originally shared on Facebook last September by one of the men seen in the video.
The men in the video can be heard speaking in Kannada, a language spoken in southern India, and they're walking from Karnataka to Ayodhya, a journey of around 1,800 km to celebrate an important festival in honour of Lord Ram.
These men have asked Prime Minister Modi for those bricks to be used in the construction of the new temple.

4. Indians in Spain aren't celebrating the construction of a new temple

Another widely shared video shows a group of people dressed in white, orange and green, playing drums on a street in Spain. The video is accompanied by claims that Indians in Spain have been celebrating the building of the temple.
One post with the video has been viewed well over 100,000 times.
A reverse image search however, shows that the video is from June 2018, when an India-based dance group that plays the drums had gone to tour Spain.

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