Nepal village photo used in the context of Indian cricket misleads many

Injina Panthi / May 31, 2021

Harsh Goenka’s tweet has misled many people into thinking that the photo is from India. The picture was taken in Mallarani, Pyuthan by Kshitiz Shrestha.

Over the past few days, a photo showing a group of youths playing cricket in a terraced paddy field has been circulating on social media. On May 27, Harsh Goenka, the president of RPG Enterprises, an Indian business conglomerate, tweeted the photo along with a text that read, “In India, cricket isn’t just a game, it is a religion- a religion where cricketers are Gods and every victory is a festival.” Goenka has over 1.6 million followers on Twitter and the tweet has earned 195 retweets, over 2,500 likes and 106 comments until May 31.

Among those commenting on Goenka’s post, some have claimed that the photograph was taken in Nepal. The same photo has also been shared by a Facebook page named Sri Lankan Cricket Fans, which has over 300,000 followers, without mentioning the location of the game.

Fans of Cricket, another Facebook page with over 10,000 followers, had also shared the photo, claiming that the venue of the game was Himachal Pradesh in India. But the page later corrected the information after users pointed out that it was from Nepal.

Fact check:  

In the course of investigating the photograph, South Asia Check visited a Facebook page named Nepali Cricket Supporters Society and found that the photo was posted on social media for the first time on August 8, 2020. The photo was credited to Kshitiz Shrestha and the caption said it was taken in Mallarani village in Pyuthan district in western Nepal.

South Asia Check contacted Shrestha to inquire about the photo. He said he had taken the photo on July 22, 2020. South Asia Check also received the original photograph from Shrestha. The photo’s metadata also confirmed that the photo was taken on July 22, 2020.

Shrestha further said: “The photo is from a local cricket match that we had organized.” Based on these details, we found that Goenka’s use of the photo alongside his post glorifying Indian cricket misled many people into thinking that the photo was from India itself as he has neither mentioned the location of the photo nor credited the photographer.

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