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Fact Check: Did Tirumala Tirupati temple shut after police crackdown on Tablighi Jamaat?

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Tirumala Tirupati temple had shut its doors for its pilgrims on March 19, the police crackdown on Tablighi Jamaat in Delhi’s Nizamuddin happened few days back, making Sakshi’s claims just a fabrication of facts.

Recently, a News24 anchor, Sakshi Joshi shared an India Today report and made a controversial statement on Twitter claiming that Tirumala Tirupati temple has discreetly shut the temple doors following the police crackdown on Tablighi Jamaat in Delhi’s Nizamuddin, which has emerged as the latest hotspot for the contagion in India. She wrote, "Now these guys have also done us a big favor by closing. Must have seen #TablighiJamaat is on target." She further suggested that the temple shutting its doors for the public is a shame as it would continue to offer pooja in seclusion.

However, to her embarrassment, this claim turned out to be fake. Tirupati Temple shut on March 20, 2020, including the 50 sub-temples. 

The IndiaToday report shared by the anchor says that the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD) Board, which manages the hill abode of Lord Venkateswara, has announced lockdown till April 14, 2020, in view of the nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19. The report published on March 31 makes no mention of the date this decision was made or that it was shut after the Tablighi Jamaat incident.

We found a Times of India report published on March 19 titled, "Coronavirus scare: Tirumala temple to be closed for pilgrim worship, temple rituals will go on’, the report mentions that Temple will be closed from March 20, 2020."

One of the excerpts of the report reads, "The state government of Andhra Pradesh in consultation with the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) has collectively decided to close down the Tirumala temple for pilgrim worship for a week from Friday (March 20), in the wake of the sharp rise in the number of positive COVID-19 cases being reported across the country over the last few weeks,”

 As per The News Minute report published on 25, 2020, the deadline to shut the temple (after the review) has been further extended to March 31, 2020.

According to these reports, the temple had closed on March 19 itself in view of the countrywide lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19. Earlier the temple was shut for a week, but was extended till March 31 and was further extended till April 14, 2020, in view of the national lockdown.

Clearly, Tirumala Tirupati temple had shut its doors for its pilgrims on March 19, the police crackdown on Tablighi Jamaat in Delhi’s Nizamuddin happened a few days back, making Sakshi’s claims just fabrication of facts.

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