Video shows Hindu youth waving religious flag on a mosque in Uttar Pradesh, not Rajasthan

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A video has been viewed more than 350,000 times in social media posts that claim it shows a Hindu mob waving religious flags atop a mosque during a spate of communal violence in the northwestern Indian state of Rajasthan. In fact, the footage shows boys who climbed on a mosque during a religious procession in Gahmar in Uttar Pradesh. Police told AFP they stopped when scolded by locals.

"Loud music was played outside the mosque in Karauli, Rajasthan, they climbed atop the mosque to promote violence," reads a Hindi-language Facebook post from April 4 shared more than 2,700 times.

The video shows a crowd waving saffron flags, the colour of Hinduism, and dancing to music outside a building.

A screenshot of the misleading post taken on April 14, 2022

Dozens of people were injured in clashes on April 2 in Karauli in India’s northwestern Rajasthan state, when people taking part in a procession to celebrate the Hindu New Year were pelted with stones by locals in the Muslim-dominated neighbourhood, The Times of India reported

Police arrested 23 people following the violence, in which shops and houses were burned.

Tensions between India's Hindu majority and Muslim minority have repeatedly boiled over since British India split into India and Pakistan in 1947-- sparking violence between the two groups as they fled for new homelands.

Critics say Modi's election in 2014 has emboldened hardline groups who see India as a Hindu nation and are seeking to undermine its secular foundations at the expense of its 200 million-strong Muslims.

The video was viewed more than 350,000 times in similar posts on Instagram, Facebook here and here; and on Twitter here and here.

However, the video does not show the clashes in Rajasthan.

Uttar Pradesh video 

A reverse image search on Google using keyframes from the video found it shared on Twitter here and here on April 5.

The tweet said the footage was filmed in Ghazipur, a city in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh 800 kilometres (500 miles) east of Karauli.

The oldest version of the video AFP found was on April 3 in a Hindi-language tweet that says: "Mob entered the mosque and assaulted worshippers in Ghazipur Gahmar, They always try to disturb the peace of the country, the government should take strict action against them."

Gahmar is a town in Ghazipur, whose mosque is called Tekuriya Masjid Bara.

The same account shared various photos of the mosque on April 4 in a separate tweet, which said the video was being shared in a false context.

Below is a screenshot comparison of the video shared in a misleading post (left) and a photo of the mosque shared on Twitter (right):

Screenshot comparison of the video shared in a misleading post (left) and a photo of the mosque shared on Twitter (right)

The Indian Express reported that youths climbed on the mosque in Gahmar and shouted Hindu chant "Jai Shree Ram" as Hindu residents taking part in a religious procession passed by on April 2.

Social activist Uzma Parveen shared various photos of the mosque on Facebook on April 4. 

One of the images shows writing on the wall of the mosque that reads "Maktab-e-Islamia School Ghazipur Gahmar" in Urdu.

Maktab is an Arabic word for elementary school. Many mosques run elementary schools for Islamic teaching.

Below is a screenshot comparison of the mosque in misleading posts (left) and a photo of the mosque with writing on the wall indicating it shows the mosque in Gahmar (right).

AFP has highlighted the corresponding visual features. 

Screenshot comparison of the mosque in misleading posts (left) and a photo of the mosque with writing on the wall (right); marked up to show the corresponding features

A senior officer from Ghazipur police Ram Badan Singh said the video was filmed in Gahmar.

"The minor waving the flag in the video has already been arrested. The rest of the three culprits will also be arrested soon," he told AFP.

"Some boys did this act during a religious procession, but they stopped after being scolded by the locals. However, the police immediately took cognizance of the matter and registered a complaint," he added.