North Indian Media reports T.R.Baalu demolished Hindu temples. What he really said?

Claim

Many 100-year-old temples were demolished, I do not want Hindu votes, T. R. was a minister in the Congress government. Balu’s provocative statement

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Explanation

A video clip of DMK MP TR Baalu’s speech during an event organized in Madurai, Tamil Nadu in support of the Sethusamudram Shipping Canal project is shared by many politicians including Tamil Nadu BJP President, Annamalai with the claim that he is taking pride in the demolition of the 100-year-old temple. It is also questioned on social media if TR Baalu can talk about the demolition of the Church or Mosque. Posts with a similar claim can be seen here, here, and here. The same claim is also shared by several media outlets in North India and some can be seen here, here, here, and here.

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Annamalai tweeted the viral clip mentioning “DMK men take pride in demolishing 100-year-old Hindu temples. The very reason we want the HR&CE dissolved and want the temple freed from the clutches of government”, after which the video clip became viral.

In the 40-second viral video clip, TR Baalu can be heard saying that he demolished a 100-year-old temple for Goddesses Saraswati, Lakshmi, and Parvati which was on GST road in his constituency. He goes on to say that he demolished these three temples despite knowing that his vote bank will be lost but knows how to get the votes.

What is the truth?

This article is originally published by Youturn Tamil on 29, January 2023.

When searching for the full video of TR Baalu’s speech, News 18 Tamil Nadu published a live video of the event supporting the Sethusamudra shipping canal project on 27, January 2023. Political party members including DMK, Dravidar Kazhagam, and other alliance parties took part in it.

At 49.45 minutes of the video, TR Baalu can be heard saying “It was said about human beliefs now. How should human beliefs be? I had demolished a 100-year-old temple on behalf of my other department. I had demolished a 100-year-old temple during a 4-lane highway project and a 100-year-old mosque in Kolkata. I have demolished temples, mosques, and churches. People come when we demolish the religious places located on the highway path.

Jyoti Basu, former CM of West Bengal questioned me that even though the vote bank is an issue, is it right to involve in religious beliefs? I answered him that I had demolished three temples of goddesses namely Saraswati, Lakshmi, and Parvati which were located on GST Road in my constituency despite knowing that I will not get votes. But I know how to get votes. My friends suggested not to do it quoting the vote bank. But I had no options. They need another temple to be built by the government, which I did it with additional facilities including a dining hall that could accommodate 100-200 people.

The video of TR Baalu speaking about the demolition of the temple alone is clipped and shared by BJP supporters and is also spread by some of the media outlets.

Conclusion

It is found that a clipped video of TR Baalu on temple demolition is shared deliberately by BJP leaders, supporters to mislead the public and the media outlets too published it without checking the full length video.

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