A small truck can be seen standing still at a distance on a busy road. A voice narrates in Telugu, “Namasthe, these people are all Christians. They have stopped the (Durga) Matha procession, saying it cannot pass through their area. They have even physically attacked Hindus.” The camera then pans to a large hoarding, which seems to be declaring birthday wishes for a local resident, and the narrator says, “Apparently this cutout can be put out, but not Ram’s cutout. There’s a fight to not let (Durga) Matha to pass by. Do justice to all Hindus. Jai siva sakthi.”
This video from a village in West Godavari district has gone viral, claiming that a Dasara procession of the Hindu goddess Durga was stopped by Christians from passing through their locality. According to the text accompanying this video on several media platforms, the incident took place in Rayagoppa village of Poduru mandal in West Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh. This tweet is one of the many such posts on social media.
The tweet, which has over 4,000 retweets, quickly spread after it was posted on the night of October 9. Many comments also attributed the 'attack' on Hindus to the Christian faith of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy.
Dasera procession of Durga Matha stopped by Christians, claiming it is 100 % Christian area.— SahaJio (@oldhandhyd) October 9, 2019
Andhra Pradesh, WG, Poduru, Rayagoppa village. pic.twitter.com/mZweRUv95t
But what really happened? As far as the video is concerned, one can clearly see that the video is being played on a phone and a voice over has been added later, to add a communal twist to the situation, blurring the actual audio of the video. Speaking about the video to TNM, Poduru Police Station SHO G Surendra Kumar clarified that while the video is indeed that of a procession in Rayagoppa, there was no disagreement or fight based on religion.
“A few Hindus were taking out a procession for Dasara. When they reached the church area, a firework that the members of the procession had set off, landed in front of someone’s house. They questioned who had thrown it, as one usually would in that situation. This led to a minor disagreement between the people carrying out the procession and the people living in the neighbourhood,” SI Surendra Kumar said.
According to the police, no one was attacked or physically hurt, and the procession later continued ahead. “By the time the police got there, the villagers had already resolved the issue among themselves,” the police officer said, adding that he had spoken to the people primarily involved in the incident the next day to ensure there was no further problem in the village.
No case has been registered.