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Fact Check-Video shows Indian Army personnel installing flag at a Sikh temple in Leh, not Indo-China border

A viral video has been miscaptioned by social media users, with people falsely claiming the clip shows the Sikh Regiment of the Indian Army installing a Sikh gurudwara (temple) at the Indo-China border.

The video shows a crowd of army personnel and civilians on high-altitude terrain, with many holding up phones to what appears to be a very tall flagpole. Most men in the video are wearing turbans while one performs a drumroll on a ‘Dhol’. The war cry of the Sikh Regiment and Sikh Light Infantry, ‘Bole So Nihal, Sat Sri Akal’, can also be heard.

One user shared the clip via Twitter and said: “Sikh Regiment built a Gurdwara on China border and put a mark, this is the gift of Modi government” (here).

Another tweet reads: “Due to PM Modi's stern stance at illegally occupied #AksaiChin border which #China claims to be its own, the #Sikh Regiment of Indian Army has constructed a #Gurdwara along with huge "#Nishan_Sahib" visible from miles.” (here)

Other examples of the miscaptioned video can be seen (here), (here), (here), and on Facebook (here).

However, the clip does not show a Sikh temple at the Indo-China border. It is a video of a ceremony at the Gurudwara Pathar Sahib in Leh, the joint capital and largest town of the union territory of Ladakh in India.

The ceremony included the installation of a ‘Nishan Sahib’, the Sikh flag that is furled outside a gurudwara on a steel pole. This saffron-coloured flag, which has an insignia called Khanda in the middle, has religious significance to the Sikh community.

Speaking to Reuters by telephone, Sudhir Chamoli, spokesman for the Indian Army, said “there is no such gurudwara at the Indo-China border. The video doing the rounds on social media is of Pathar Sahib, which is located in Leh. It is at a distance of over 20 km towards Kargil from Leh.”

The video was first posted on Twitter in Oct. 2021 by a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader, Majinder Singh Sirsa, with a caption, “A blessed feeling to see 80 feet Nishan sahib installed at Gurudwara Pathar sahib, Leh.” (here)

According to local reports, the Gurdwara Pathar Sahib was constructed in the memory of Guru Nanak Dev, on the Leh-Kargil road, 12000ft above sea level. It was built in 1517 to commemorate the visit to the Ladakh region of Guru Nanak Dev, the founder Guru of the Sikh faith. It is maintained by the Indian Army. The video shows an “80 feet Nishan Sahib” being raised at the shrine. (here, youtu.be/UJ_udrhZZjc)

VERDICT

Miscaptioned. The clip shows the installation of a Sikh flag at a gurudwara (temple) in Leh. An army spokesperson confirmed to Reuters that there is no such gurudwara at the Indo-China border.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here.

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