Writer Wagle grossly misquoted in viral meme

Sanjog Shiwakoti / January 27, 2021

This meme which has gone viral on social media in Nepal has grossly misquoted writer Narayan Wagle.

A meme with some text and a mugshot of noted journalist and author Narayan Wagle is widely circulating among Nepali social media users since January 25 after Wagle addressed a protest rally at Baluwatar, Kathmandu earlier in the day. The meme claims Wagle made the following statement: “Secularism has been enshrined in the constitution. Therefore, they should stop building temples and offering worship. To ensure secularism, temples should be demolished. Worship and recitals should stop.” The meme refers to Wagle as “author, campaigner”. The meme has been shared by over one hundred people on social media platforms.

A Twitter handle called Kusum Gyawali tweeted the meme at 6:21 am on January 26. It has been retweeted 38 times so far. Similarly, the meme tweeted by one Binu Pokharel‘s Twitter handle at 6:46 am on January 26, has 52 retweets. The meme is circulating also on Facebook.

Reacting to the meme, Narayan Wagle on January 26 tweeted, “Who is this who is spreading disinformation by attributing me to something which I have never said. Why? Beware of this maneuver, which is aimed at derailing the citizens’ movement! ”. His tweet has been retweeted 504 times and received more than 1500 responses.

South Asia Check fact-checked the claim made in the meme.

On January 25, Wagle had addressed demonstrators who were protesting at Baluwatar under the banner of Citizens’ movement against the dissolution of the House of Representatives. In his speech, Wagle expressed his views on temples and Nepal’s Constitution.

Wagle addressing demonstrators at Baluwatar on January 25.

He had said, “He who now lives in Baluwatar first went around saying he would build temples. And these days he is offering worship. Has he read the constitution or not? The constitution has enshrined state neutrality in religious matters. The only thing he wants to destabilize is the democracy with federalism, secularism and proportional representation.” Wagle’s this particular statement has been grossly distorted to spread disinformation. We studied the video and found that during his speech, Wagle hasn’t called for constructing or demolishing temples or stopping worship.

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