An image of a Durga Puja pandal in West Bengal is going viral across social media platforms with the claim that it showcases Chinese President Xi Jinping as the slain Mahishasura (demon).
Set up by the Sargadham Sevak Sangha club of Berhampore in Murshidabad, West Bengal, the pandal has caught the fancy of the netizens as they perceive it to be an indirect attack on China in the wake of the ongoing border tensions in eastern Ladakh.
A report by a local Bengali publication stated that the structure conceptualised by idol maker Ashim Pal comprises of Goddess Durga and her children Lakshmi, Saraswati, Kartik and Ganesh.
However, the head of the Mahishasura has been replaced by that of Xi Jinping to express anger towards the neighbouring country for its unwarranted activities along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
As the report gained traction, scores of Facebook and Twitter users believed the theory and propagated it further. They even praised the Sargadham Sevak Sangha club and the idol maker as they deemed the structure to be an apt reply to China.
"Chinese President Xi Jinping as Mahishasura in Durga Puja at Berhampur in Kolkata. In this puja let's pray for the triumph of good over evil," read one of the many Facebook posts.
As it turns out, the head of the Mahishasura has not been modeled after the Chinese President. A member of the Sargadham Sevak Sangha club has clarified that the demon has been inspired by the Mongolians, as opposed to the claims made by social media posts.
"We make the Asuras inspired by different races every year. We have made Asuras inspired by the Greeks and South Africans before. This year, the artist who makes the idol for us was inspired by the Mongolians. We have not made this idol on any political issue. In fact, the club authorities were not involved in the theme, the idea was conceptualised by the artist," club member Sanjay Chandra told India Today.
Therefore, the claims that a Durga Puja pandal in West Bengal depicts Chinese President Xi Jinping as the demon is false.