BJP spokesperson Shaina NC was among many social media users who shared an image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi bowing to a differently abled woman, identifying her as ‘Aarati Dongra… IAS officer who was the chief architect behind renovation of Kashi Vishwanath temple’. But the person the Prime Minister is seen bowing down to is not IAS officer Arti Dogra, who is the special secretary to the CMO of Rajasthan, but one Shikha Rastogi.
An archived version of the tweet can be found here.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi was recently on a two day visit to his parliamentary constituency Varanasi on December 13 and 14 during which he inaugurated the new Shri Kashi Vishwanath Corridor, which makes it easier for pilgrims to take part in the age old ritual of collecting water from the Holy Ganges and offering it to the deity Kashi Vishwanath without having to manoeuvre through the congested streets of Varanasi.
Many posts relating to the Prime Minister’s visit have since found its way to social media among which, many users shared an image of a differently abled woman and identified her as IAS officer Arti Dogra, and also claimed that she was the ‘chief architect of the Kashi Vishwanath corridor’.
IAS officer Arti Dogra, born in Dehradun, Uttarakhand, is a 2006 batch woman IAS officer who currently serves as the special secretary of the Chief Minister’s Office of Rajasthan.
The viral claim has also been shared by several other users on Twitter and Facebook.
Newschecker conducted a reverse image search of the image that was shared with the viral post claiming to show PM Modi touch the feet of IAS officer Arti Dogra.
We found several articles, one of which, published by ZEE NEWS on 16 December carries the same image seen in the post which claims that PM Modi touched the feet of IAS officer Arti Dogra.
According to the article published by ZEE NEWS, PM Modi was on Varanasi tour on 13 and 14 December during which he inaugurated the Kashi Vishwanath Corridor project. During his programme, a differently-abled woman named Shikha Rastogi came to meet the Prime Minister, and on seeing her, the PM immediately inquired about her condition. As soon as she went ahead to seek the blessings of the Prime Minister, the PM stopped her and instead touched her feet.
Newschecker further looked up the keywords ‘PM Modi’ and ‘Shikha Rastogi’ and found several such articles, mainly in Hindi language, carrying the same image.
The Dainik Jagran article also mentions that the blueprint of PM Modi’s dream project Kashi Vishwanath Corridor was prepared by Padmashree Dr Bimal Patel, resident of Ahmedabad. According to an article on theprint Bimal Patel is the President of the Center for Environmental Planning and Technology (CEPT) in Ahmedabad.
In the year 2019, he was awarded the Padma Shri in the field of architecture and planning and has worked on many other prestigious projects including Swarnim Sankul in Gandhinagar and is currently engaged in the Central Vista redevelopment project in Delhi, redevelopment of Mumbai Port Trust and redevelopment of the Sabarmati Ashram.
The widely shared image of PM Modi bowing to a differently abled woman does not show IAS officer Arti Dogra, but another woman named Shikha Rastogi. IAS officer Arti Dogra is also not the chief architect of the Shri Kashi Vishwanath Corridor.