Old photo photoshopped to show Indian flag in February 10 demonstration

Sanjog Shiwakoti / February 11, 2021

The original photo was taken by Annapurna Post photographers on December 29, 2020.

On February 10, 2021, a faction of the Nepal Communist Party (NCP) led by Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Madhav Kumar Nepal organized a demonstration in Kathmandu against the dissolution of the House of Representatives. Photos of the demonstration were published by various digital media and shared on social media also. Among the photos, a photo widely circulating on social media including Twitter and Facebook shows an Indian flag among the NCP party flags held by demonstrators. Some online news outlets have also published reports claiming that Indian flag was also used in the demonstration.

South Asia Check examined the photo and the claim.

Janata Times Online published a news report headlined ‘Indian flag in demonstration led by Prachanda-Madhav, anti-Nepal scheme exposed’. But the outlet later corrected the news and changed its headline as “Indian flag in demonstration led by Prachanda-Madhav!”. The outlet apologized saying it got misled and also published the original photo, which does not contain the Indian flag.

Janata Times online, which had published the photoshopped photo earlier on February 10, later apologized and also published the original picture, which does not contain the Indian flag.

Similarly, Chakrapath Online published a report with the photo under the headline: ‘Indian flag used in demonstration organized by Prachanda-Madhav!’

A Twitter handle called @iambishalbhatta tweeted the photo along with this text: “In the demonstration organized by the Prachanda-Madhav faction in Kathmandu, someone was found waving Indian flag and chanting slogans against Prime Minister KP Oli.” The photo has been retweeted 61 times. Similarly, the photo with the same text shared by Bishal Bhatta on Facebook has been shared 161 times.

The photo shared by Twitter handle @khadga_acharya has been retweeted 13 times.

Similarly, Ganesh Basnet shared a  link of Janata Times news on Facebook. His post has been shared 652 times. Many users have also shared the photo on a public Facebook group called Nepal Communist Party (NCP).

Fact check: South Asia Check ran a ‘reverse image search’ of the photo and found that the original photo was published almost a month and a half ago by the Nepali-language daily Annapurna Post on its website along with a report of the December 29, 2020 protest rally organized by the Dahal-Nepal faction of the Nepal Communist Party. The photo does not contain the Indian flag. It was published under the headline ‘NCP’s protest against the dissolution of parliament (photo feature)’. The photos are credited to Uma Bista and Sunita Dangol. So we have concluded that the photo shared February 10 was photoshopped to mislead viewers.

Note: The retweet counts on archived links of Twitter pages may be lower than actual because the number of quoted tweets are not shown.

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