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Old Image of Congress Members Celebrating Rahul Gandhi’s Birthday Edited To Include Mia Khalifa’s Photo

Bharatiya Janata Party member Major (retd) Surendra Punia (now deleted) and other users shared an image showing Congress members feeding cake to Mia Khalifa’s photograph. 

The former adult film actress joined the likes of climate activist Greta Thunberg, pop-star Rihanna, American lawyer Meena Harris and many others who tweeted in support of farmers.

It’s been over two months since farmers have been protesting against the Centre’s three new agricultural laws introduced late last year. 

After Rihanna and other global personalities tweeted in support of the farmers protesting, hashtags #IndiaAgainstPropaganda and #IndiaTogether gained traction with several users tweeting this as a push back. 

One such tweet shared with the Khalifa’s image reads, “A hundred years ago, Mohandas Gandhi stood with Turkey’s Khalifa. Today Congress stands firmly with Mia Khalifa..!”

A hundred years ago, Mohandas Gandhi stood with Turkey’s Khalifa
Today Congress stands firmly with Mia Khalifa..! pic.twitter.com/TxGWMXarp3— MVNAPPARAO (@QRioCT24X7) February 6, 2021

A few more examples can be seen below. 

A hundred years ago, Mohandas Gandhi stood with Turkey’s Khalifa

Today @INCIndia stands firmly with Porn Actor @miakhalifa ..! https://t.co/k4GRyMTcWQ— Arup Jena (@arupjena13) February 6, 2021

For Congressis democracy means Mia Khalifa new president of AICC pic.twitter.com/yUhgqTEMEm— अर्थशास्त्री किसान समीर यादव (@SAMEER_YADV) February 6, 2021

🇮🇳

Fact Check/ Verification 

Through a Google reverse image search of Khalifa’s image we found a Getty Images link to the original photograph. This does not include Khalifa. 

Screenshot of Google reverse image search of Khalifa's image from claim
Screenshot of Google reverse image search of Khalifa’s image from claim

The original image shows Congress (INC) party workers feeding a piece of cake (as a gesture) to Rahul Gandhi’s photograph on the occasion of his 37th birthday. 

Description of the image reads, “New Delhi, INDIA: Indian Youth Congress supporters cut a huge birthday cake during celebrations for the 37th birthday of Rahul Gandhi, leader of the youth wing of the Congress Party, in front of Congress Party President Sonia Gandhi’s residence in New Delhi, 19 June 2007. Indian Youth Congress supporters organised the birthday celebrations for Rahul Gandhi, Congress Party member of parliament (MP) and son of the Congress-led UPA government chairperson Sonia Gandhi. AFP PHOTO/RAVEENDRAN” 

Image of Congress workers celebrating Rahul Gandhi's 37th birthday by RAVEENDRAN/AFP via Getty Images
Image of Congress workers celebrating Rahul Gandhi’s 37th birthday by RAVEENDRAN/AFP via Getty Images

Another photograph celebrating Gandhi’s 37th birthday can be viewed here

With relevant keyword search using information from Getty Images, we found a June 2007 Times of India (TOI) article which includes Gandhi’s image and titled, “Rahul Gandhi turns 37 today.”

“A large number of party workers gathered outside his mother Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s residence at 10 Janpath to celebrate the birthday of the Amethi MP. They danced to the beats of drums and burst crackers,” reads the TOI article. 

Screenshot of Times of India's 2007 article on Rahul Gandhi's 37th birthday
Screenshot of Times of India’s 2007 article on Rahul Gandhi’s 37th birthday

On comparing Khalifa’s image from the claim (Right) and Gandhi’s image from Getty (Left), we found that the claims include a manipulated photo. 

Comparison of Khalifa’s image from the claim (Right) and Rahul Gandhi’s image from Getty (Left)
Comparison of Khalifa’s image from the claim (Right) and Rahul Gandhi’s image from Getty (Left)

This claim has also been verified in our Hindi fact-check

Conclusion

Our research makes it clear that Khalifa’s photo has been edited from the original one to mislead users. The original image shows Congress party workers celebrating Rahul Gandhi’s 37th birthday in 2007. 

Result: Manipulated Media

Our Sources

Getty Images: https://www.gettyimages.in/detail/news-photo/indian-youth-congress-supporters-cut-a-huge-birthday-cake-news-photo/74769332?adppopup=true

Getty Images: https://www.gettyimages.in/detail/news-photo/indian-youth-congress-supporters-cut-a-huge-birthday-cake-news-photo/74769381?adppopup=true

Times of India: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Rahul-Gandhi-turns-37-today/articleshow/2133889.cms


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Nikita Vashisth
Nikita is a writer and editor for English fact-checking. She also leads projects to understand the misinformation and fake-news ecosystem—with an emphasis on data and psychology. Previously, she has worked with IndiaSpend, CNN-News18 and written for Citizen Matters and Mongabay-India on the environment, health, and politics. She’s a postgraduate of the Computational Journalism program at Cardiff University, Wales.

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