Fact Check: One Lakh People Did Not Convert To Buddhism In Jaipur, Viral Claims Are False

Date:

A mass religious conversion event took place in the national capital on October 14, 2022. The event was attended by a number of people from various castes and religions in order to convert to Buddhism. The event sparked controversy after Rajendra Pal Gautam- the Social Welfare Minister of the Delhi government attended the event and gave controversial remarks. 

Against this backdrop, a viral post of 2 pictures showing a huge gathering of people attending an event is doing rounds on social media. Users are sharing the images claiming that over 1 lakh people converted to Buddhism on October 16, 2022, in Jaipur.

A Facebook user posted the viral video with the caption: 

कल दिनांक 16/10/22 को जयपुर में 1 लाख भाइयों ने बौद्ध धर्म की दीक्षा ली सभी बौद्ध भिक्षुओं को मेरा बहुत-बहुत साधुवाद नमो बुद्धाय

(English Translation: Yesterday on 16/10/22, 1 lakh brothers took initiation of Buddhism in Jaipur My many thanks to all the Buddhist monks Namo Buddhay)

You can check the post here.

FACT CHECK

NewsMobile fact-checked the viral video and found the claim to be false.

We started our investigation by running a Reverse Image Search of the viral images, and landed on a tweet published on the official handle of Prabuddh Bharat– a media house founded by B R Ambedkar in 1956. Two of the images in the tweet match exactly with the viral pictures and it informs us that the pictures are from the Dhamma Mela organized by the Indian Buddhist Mahasabha on the occasion of the 66th Dhammachakra Pravartana Day in Pimpri Chinchwad, Pune, Maharashtra.

Taking a cue from this, we conducted a Google Keyword Search to know more about the event. Our search landed us on a YouTube video titled: Prakash Ambedkar:- जाहिर सभा धम्मचक्र प्रवर्तन महोत्सव 2022 पिंपरी चिंचवड पुणे Awaaz Maza News, published on October 15, 2022, on Awaaz Maza- an independent Marathi news YouTube channel. 

The video is shot from behind the main stage while a speaker is addressing the crowd. As the camera pans from one end to another, one of the video keyframes matches with the viral picture, confirming that the latter is from an event in Pune, and not Jaipur.

Searching further about the event we got to know that Dhammachakra Pravartan Din is celebrated every year on the day of Ashoka Vijayadashami (Dussehra). It is also celebrated to mark the conversion of B.R Ambedkar and his followers to Buddhism on 14 October 1956 at Deekshabhoomi- a Buddhist sacred monument in Nagpur. Every year, people convert to Buddhism on Dhammachakra Pravartan Din and Ashoka Vijayadashami. 

While the viral pictures were from an event to celebrate Buddhism and many people took part in the procession as well, we could not find a single credible news source informing us that the event took place in Jaipur.

Therefore, based on our investigation, we can conclusively say that the viral claim of over 1 lakh people converting to Buddhism in Jaipur on October 16, 2022, is false. 

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