Photo of ISKCON Temple near Odisha train accident site passed off as a mosque

By: Rajeswari Parasa
June 5 2023

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Photo of ISKCON Temple near Odisha train accident site passed off as a mosque


The Verdict False

Logically Facts confirmed from sources on the ground that the white structure seen near the railway tracks is the Bahanaga ISKCON Temple.

Claim ID 9d20f24d


In one of the deadliest train crashes in India, three trains — Coromandel Express, Howrah Super Fast Express, and a goods train — derailed and crashed into one another on Friday, June 2. The tragedy has claimed the lives of at least 275 people and injured over 1,000 passengers. 

Shortly after the mishap, several people shared images from the site of the accident on social media and claimed that there was a mosque nearby. Alluding to a “conspiracy,” these users blamed the Muslim community for the deadly accident. One of the tweets shared by a Twitter user Manjeet Yadav, reads, “Just saying, Yesterday was Friday,” with a top angle shot from the accident spot that shows a structure. In Islam, Friday is a sacred day for Muslims. Many other tweets that were shared online got thousands of reactions and views, though several have been deleted now. 

However, this claim is false.

In Fact

Our research showed that the structure located near the site of the train accident is not a mosque, but an ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness) temple. Logically Facts also verified the location of the temple on Google Earth, and we have found that the white structure is, in fact, the ISKCON temple in Bahanaga. A Google Maps view also shows the white structure next to the railway tracks.

A YouTube video uploaded by Live Hindustan shows the structure of a temple, which is under construction. There is no indication that there is a mosque present at the location. The full view of the accident spot can be seen in this video and the temple can be seen at a stone’s throw distance from the railway tracks. The video was uploaded on June 4. 

Reuters has also published an image of the accident site and the image shows that the white structure bears no resemblance to a mosque.

Logically Facts also reached out to a local journalist, Tamal Saha, who has been reporting on the train accident from the ground. Saha told Logically over a phone call, “It is an ISKCON temple beside the railway track in Balasore. The ground level is operational and the structure is still under construction."

India Today Journalist Divyeshi Trivedi has shared the aerial view video of the aftermath of the train accident near Bahanaga, Odisha, on June 3, 2023. At timestamp 0:02 seconds we can see the same temple structure shared by Live Hindustan and Reuters. A ground report by NewsLaundry from the train accident published on June 4, 2023, also shows the temple that has been misrepresented as a mosque. 

Thus, multiple sources on the ground have confirmed that the structure near the temple is not a mosque. 

With several false communal claims surfacing online, the Odisha police issued a statement warning that action will be taken against those spreading false claims on the basis of religion. “It has come to notice that some social media handles are mischievously giving communal colour to the tragic train accident at Balasore. This is highly unfortunate,” the official account of the Odisha police said in a tweet. “We appeal to all concerned to desist from circulating such false and ill-motivated posts. Severe legal action will be initiated against those who are trying to create communal disharmony by spreading rumours.”

Investigation into the train accident and what was the cause behind the three trains crashing into one another is still underway. Union Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, who has been at the spot of the accident, interacted with the media and said that a preliminary probe has revealed that a ‘change in the electronic interlocking system’ could be the cause behind the accident, as reported by Hindustan Times. However, further investigation is going on. 

The Verdict

An image of an ISCKON temple located near the Odisha train accident site is being shared with the false claim that it is a mosque. Therefore, we rate this claim as false.

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