Pune dairy fire falsely shared claiming Hindu mob set Muslim-owned shop on fire

By: Rohith Gutta
January 23 2024

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Pune dairy fire falsely shared claiming Hindu mob set Muslim-owned shop on fire

Screenshot of the social media post sharing a video with the claim that a Hindu mob burnt down a Muslim owned dairy in Pune (Source: X/Modified by Logically Facts)


The Verdict False

Officials from the fire services, as well as the police, have ruled out arson. Officials told Logically Facts it was an accidental fire.

Claim ID fc8000f8

What is the claim?

A user on X (formerly Twitter) shared a video of a building on fire on January 22 with the claim that a Hindu mob burnt down a Muslim-run establishment in Pune during celebrations over the consecration of the new Ram Temple in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh. The video showed flames atop a building with the words ‘Modern Dairy’ painted on it, and was shared with the caption, “Hindu religious mobs burning down and destroying a Muslim run business and property in one of #Pune oldest areas, Camp. saw people chanting and encouraging this as part of the Mandir processions, sickening and terrifying (sic).” The post was later deleted, but not before it had over 190 reposts and 20,000 views, as seen by Logically Facts.

Screenshot of the social media post (Source: X/Modified by Logically Facts)

However, an incident of fire has been shared with a false communal spin.

What did we find?

A keyword search of ‘Modern Dairy fire’ in Pune led us to various news reports. According to the Indian Express, Modern Dairy, located in the Camp area of Pune, caught fire at around 9 p.m. on January 22. The report stated that according to locals and dairy owners, firecrackers may have caused the incident. The police and the fire officials called it an accidental fire.

According to a report by The Times of India, the outlet caught fire on January 22 and the fire brigade released a statement that firecrackers caused the fire. The report quoted owners of the dairy telling officials that crackers were burst to celebrate the consecration of the temple, and some firecrackers flew into the shed constructed on the terrace of the building. However, neither the police, the fire officials nor the dairy owners have made any mention of arson or sabotage. 

Logically Facts contacted the Fire Services Department of the Pune Municipal Corporation, who were on the ground dousing the fire. Devendra Potphode, Chief Fire Officer of Pune, said, “The fire started on the terrace. Various cardboard materials used for packaging were stored there. The fire was raging only on the terrace. If it were intentional arson, the fire would have spread downwards, which, in this case, it did not.”

Logically Facts also contacted the Cantonment Police Station, and Police Inspector Narendra More told us, “The fire started at around 8:45 pm. It is a G+1 (Ground floor and one upper floor) building with a terrace. They were storing cardboard material on the terrace, which caught fire. Hindus of that locality were celebrating Ram temple consecration by distributing prasad. Beyond that, there was nothing there.” He also clarified that the owner of Modern Dairy is a Sindhi and not a Muslim. He said that a First Information Report (FIR) is yet to be filed and will be filed soon.

We cross-checked the website of Modern Dairy, the establishment that caught fire, and found that Muslims do not own it. While the name of the establishment is ‘Modern Dairy,’ the name of the parent company is Santosh Milk and Milk Products Private Limited. The business intelligence platform ‘Zauba Corp’ lists Lalchand Shyamdas Bhagtani, Manoj Lalchand Bhagtani, and Sunil Lalchand Bhagtani as the company’s directors.

Details of the company provided on Zauba Corp(L) and India Mart(R) (Source: Zauba Corp/India Mart/Screenshots)

The Pune City Police also dismissed this claim in a post on X on January 22. “Shop Owner's name is Lalchand Shyamdas Bhaktani. Dairy is located in a chowk where one mandal was celebrating and the fire is purely accidental,” the police said.

The verdict

A fire incident in Pune was shared with a false claim that a Hindu mob burnt down a Muslim establishment. However, the establishment is owned by a Sindhi. Therefore, we have marked this claim as false. 

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