Claim: A viral video showed a Hindu priest talking about creating a Hindu nation. He is being falsely linked to the Maharashtra’s Palghar incident where a mob lynched three people which included two Sadhus on the night of 16th April, 2020.
The caption read “ये वही 70 वर्षीय साधु है जिनकी पालघर में निर्मम हत्या कर दी गई है। वीडियो देखने के बाद समझ आ जाएगा कि इन्हें क्यो मारा गया और ये हमारे लिए कितने जरूरी थे…. ईश्वर इनकी आत्मा को शांति दे।“
Translation – “This is the same 70-year-old monk who has been brutally murdered in Palghar, after watching the video, he will understand why he was killed and how important he was to us. May his soul rest in peace”
The caption along with the video claims that this priest is one of the two priests who were lynched by the mob and killed.
People are sharing this video and caption in order to give out a reasoning for why he was killed, as he is seen propagating an idea of Hindu nation.
ये वही 70 वर्षीय साधु है जिनकी पालघर में निर्मम हत्या कर दी गई है वीडियो देखने के बाद समझ आ जाएगा कि इन्हें क्यो मारा गया और ये हमारे लिए कितने जरूरी थे
ईश्वर इनकी आत्मा को शांति दे pic.twitter.com/ROF8zRhr5B
— Bharat Magar (@BhartMagar) April 22, 2020
The video shows an old man in saffron robes who is propagating Hindu nation. He appeals to people to pick up arms in order to safeguard Sanatan Dharma. In the video he is addressed by another man as ‘Respected Jeeyar Swami’.
After searching for this name, Google provided his real name as Sri Vrathadhara Ramanuja Jeeyar Swami. Facebook showed profiles and pages with this name and his pictures.
Several videos on YouTube also confirmed that the priest in the current viral video is same as the one with accounts/pages on Facebook and his name is Sri Vrathadhara Ramanuja Jeeyar Swami.
Above is a collage of images of Sri Vrathadhara Ramanuja Jeeyar Swami. Obtained from Facebook profiles, click here and here and a YouTube video; in comparison to a still from the viral video.
Another video was found on his account where the similarities in physicality and voice can be noticed when compared to the viral video. Jeeyar Swami can also be seen having a tilak in a similar pattern on their forehead in both the videos and that is a signature style of all Jeeyar Swamis.
However, according to the reports of The Print, the priest lynched in Palghar belonged to Juna Akhara who does not put any tilak on their forehead.
The priest killed in the Palghar incident was Kalpavriksh Giri Maharaj. Below is his image.
This is a video of Kalpavriksh Giri Maharaj shared on Twitter where he can be seen chanting prayers and talking politely.
This is a video of Maharaj Kalpavriksh Giri, yes, the same 70 year old Hindu Sadhu who was beaten to death by a violent mob in #PalgharMobLynching, abandoned to a cruel death by the police. See how gently he speaks. My heart broke to see this video! pic.twitter.com/tSR4veXJ1Z
— Shefali Vaidya. (@ShefVaidya) April 21, 2020
However, the lynching story happened on 16th April 2020 where two sadhus and their driver were lynched in Palghar who were suspected to be thieves. As disturbing visuals of the mob beating the men to death emerged online, the incident triggered widespread outrage and accusations that the attack was communally motivated.
The event was shared excessively online. But the priest who was killed in that event in Palghar is not the same as in the new viral video.
The above picture shows Kalpavriksh Giri Maharaj who was killed in Palghar and the below image shows Sri Vrathadhara Ramanuja Jeeyar Swami who is in the viral video.