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There Are No Massive Fires In Uttarakhand, Old and Unrelated Images Are Being Shared

Forest fires are indeed ravaging Uttarakhand, but some of the images being massively shared on social media are misleading.

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As the country is battling coronavirus pandemic, Uttarakhand is fighting another environmental tragedy. According to a report in Business Insider, forest fires have been raging in Uttarakhand for almost four days. A total of 46 forest fires have been reported from Uttarakhand, and many hectares of forest have already been gutted. It was also reported that the Kumaon region was among the worst-hit area with almost two dozen incidents of forest fires.

In the backdrop of it, several horrific photos of wildfires are being shared on social media, claiming that these are the latest pictures are from Uttarakhand forest fire. Here are some of the tweets:

Several blue tick handles, including Jitin Prasada, former Union Minister, shared the viral images on their respective handles. We found that the same viral pictures are being shared on Facebook and WhatsApp as well. 

Fact Check:

We started fact-checking the viral pictures one by one. Here’s what we found.

Image 1: We found that it is the most viral image across various social media platforms.

Using reverse-image search on the Google search engine, we found a postdated article of news website News 18 India, which carried out the same viral image. The headline of the article published on April 30, 2016, reads, Forest fires rage across Uttarakhand, Air Force help sought. The credits for the photograph were given to Arup Sah.

We searched for his profile on Facebook and found that he also uploaded the same viral image on his profile on April 28, 2016.

Another media outlet, ABP News, in its article, also carried out the same viral image.

Image 2: It is another image viral on social media. Jitin Prasada, former Union Minister, also shared a collage showing forest in flames. In the viral image,  Pauri, a town and a municipal board in Pauri Garhwal district in Uttarakhand can be seen under massive fire. However, he deleted his tweet later on. Here is the archive version of the tweet.

A Google reverse search led us to an article published in Gulf today on May 14, 2019, on the alarming increase in forest fires across India. We could trace the image back to 2019. However, we were not able to ascertain the exact location of the picture.

Image 3: A Twitter user posted a set of two images. While we have debunked the second image, we fact-checked the first image in the tweet.

Google reverse image search led us to the Getty images website, which carried out the same viral image taken back on September 18, 2007. According to the description, the picture was taken when a major fire was reported in Fawnskin, California. The credits for the photograph were given to David McNew.

Image 4: A Twitter user posted a set of four images. We have already debunked the first two images; we fact-checked the other two images.

A Google reverse image search on the image, led us to an article published by Times of India on June 1, 2018, carrying out the same viral image. The headline of the article reads, Forest fires singe Himachal, claim four lives.

Another news media outlet, NDTV, carried out the image as a file photo in an article published on May 6, 2016. The headline reads, In Uttarakhand, Rain brings much-needed respite and hopes of business.

We now started fact-checking the fourth image. Google reverse image search led us to a website named Flickr, which carried out the same image. According to the website, the image was taken on August 17, 2013. The caption, along with the image reads, The Rim Fire in the Stanislaus National Forest near California began on August 17, 2013, and is under investigation. The fire has consumed approximately 199,237 acres and is 32% contained. The credits for the photograph were given to Mike McMillan.

Meanwhile, the Uttarakhand Forest Fire department also clarified that the images being shared on social media are fake. The fire department also requested the users to share authentic information.

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat also tweeted, saying that the old photos of fire are being shared to create a “misleading” impression on social media. The pictures of forest fires are from 2016 and 2019, whereas some of the photos were actually from forest fires in Chile and China.

He also posted a graphic, which shows that around 72 hectares of the area have been affected by forest fires as of May 25, whereas last year, around 1,600 hectares of area was affected due to forest fires by May 25.

Journalist Gargi Rawat posted a video of Dr. Parag Madhukar, an official with Forest Department, who clarified that there are no massive forest fires in Uttarakhand. He further added that many old and wrong visuals are being shared on social media. 

ANI also carried out the statement of Ashok Kumar, Director General of Police (Law and Order), who stated that some users had spread rumors on social media that massive fire has broken out in Uttarakhand forests, which is not true. Photos that are being shared are as old as 2016 when a massive fire had broken out, whereas some photos are from foreign countries, he added.He further added that FIR is being registered against people who are spreading rumors, and stringent legal action will be taken against them.

Conclusion:

Forest fires are indeed ravaging Uttarakhand, but some of the images being massively shared on social media are misleading. Old and unrelated images are being passed off on social media as recent pictures from Uttarakhand forest fires.

Sources

  • Google Search
  • Media Reports
  • Twitter Search
  • Google Reverse Image Search

Result: Misleading 

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Video Of Man Urging Muslim Community To Increase Representation Is Not Himalaya’s Founder

Himalaya Drug Company’s founder M Manal passed away in 1986. Man in the viral video is Naqi Ahmed Nadwi, administrator at Maaden, Riyadh.

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Naqi Ahmed Nadwi's video shared as founder of Himalaya

A video of a man speaking in Urdu and encouraging the Muslim community to increase their representation in professions such as administrative services, health department, judiciary, and others has been shared by many social media users recently. 

Users have claimed the man in the video to be the owner of the Himalayan Drug Company, Mohammed Manal. These claims also advise people against the use of Himalaya products. 

One such example of the claim reads, “We are all proud of Indian ‘Himalayan Drug Company’ but see the mentality of it’s owner Mohammed Manal and think twice before using the products.”

You can read similar claims with the 44-second video below. 

Fact Check/ Verification

Using keyframes from the video, we did a reverse search on Yandex.com. This led us to a Youtube video in which the same man was seen speaking on CAA and NRC. A Google search of keywords from this video led us to Naqi Ahmed Nadwi’s Facebook page—the man speaking in the video

On 22 August, Nadwi posted a video on his Facebook page with an Urdu caption:

 بابری مسجد کا انہدام اوراسکی جگہ پر رام مندر کا قیام تاریخ ہند کا ایک ایسا موڑ ہے جس کے بارے میں مسلمانوں کو سنجیدگی سے غور کرنا ہوگا!

It translates to, “The demolition of Babri Masjid and the establishment of Ram Mandir in its place is a twist in the history of India which Muslims must consider seriously!” 

The video clip included in the initial claim was taken from this 12-minute video by Nadwi. You can watch the clip from the 11:54 timestamp. 

As per Nadwi’s LinkedIn profile, he is an Administrator at Maaden CEO Office in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. 

Naqi Ahmed Nadwi’s LinkedIn profile

Founder of Himalaya

An image of Himalaya Drug Company’s founder, M Manal posted on the company’s website clearly shows he is not the same man as claimed in the initial tweets. Also, M Manal passed away in 1986. The current CEO of the company is Philipe Haydon.

Photograph of M Manal, Founder of Himalaya Drug Company on its website
Photograph of M Manal, Founder of Himalaya Drug Company on its website

On 27 September, the company tweeted a clarification on the claim calling it baseless rumours.

Conclusion 

Tweets claiming the video of a man urging the Muslim community to increase their representation in sectors such as police force, to be the founder of Himalaya Drug Company are misleading. The man in the video is Naqi Ahmed Nadwi, Administrator at Maaden CEO Office in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. 

Result: Misleading 

Our Sources

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5mtqEf5FeFg

Naqi Ahmed Nadwi’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Naqi-Ahmed-Nadwi-Page-105822587910985

Naqi Ahmed Nadwi’s LinkedIn profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/naqi-ahmed-nadwi-64b32446/

Himalaya Drug Company: https://himalayawellness.in/pages/our-story

Himalaya Global Holdings: http://www.himalayaglobalholdings.com/abouthimalaya/milestones.htm

Himalaya CEO Philipe Haydon: https://www.linkedin.com/in/philipe-haydon-46b13515/?originalSubdomain=in

Himalaya India: https://twitter.com/HimalayaIndia/status/1310136642380861440?s=20

Prathmesh Kunt contributed towards research for this fact check. 


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PM Modi’s 2017 Ro-Ro Ferry Initiative Shared With Braemar Cruise Video From Greece

PM Modi’s 2017 Ro-Ro ferry initiative was suspended due to dredging issues in Dahej last year.

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PM Modi’s 2017 Ro-Ro Ferry Initiative Shared With Braemar Cruise Video From Greece

A Twitter user claims that the Indian prime minister Narendra Modi started a ferry service connecting Bhavnagar and Bharuch districts in Gujarat. It further claims the distance between the districts is 350km by road and 32km by sea. It is accompanied by a 59-second video which shows a cruise ship passing through a narrow waterway. 

The tweet aims to appreciate PM Modi’s initiative to reduce travel time between the two districts, while also claiming the ship’s capacity to hold 50 trucks, 60 buses, 200 cars, 350 motorcycles and 600 people at once. 

Posted on 28 September, the tweet written in Hindi when translated reads, “Bhavnagar to Bharuch road has a distance of 350 kilometers, and by sea route it is 32 kilometers, and by this sea route, the Prime Minister has started a service by the ship. The capacity of this ship is 50 trucks, 60 buses, 200 cars at once. 350 motorcycles, 600 people, and time in just half an hour”

Other social media users have shared similar claims. 

Fact Check/ Verification

Through a reverse image search of the claim (tweet) on InVid, a video verification tool, we came across an October 2019 tweet by @Amazing_Greece which reads, “MS Braemar is the largest ship which has been through the Canal of Corinth #Greece

Taking cue from this we did a keyword (ms braemar corinth canal) search on Google which led us to an October 2019 Youtube video. Posted by the account Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines the video’s description reads, Braemar cruising through the Corinth Canal.”

Fred Olsen’s video shows keyframes similar to the video in the claim. It also shows the same surrounding scenic views of the Corinth Canal. Located in Greece, this canal is one of the oldest man-made canals in the world. 

The Telegraph UK published an article on it in October 2019 titled, “The inside story of a record-breaking cruise through the Corinth Canal – a journey that was two years in the planning.” As did the Daily Mail UK

PM Modi’s Ro-Ro Ferry Initiative

As for the other part of the claim which says PM Modi started a ship service connecting Bhavnagar and Bharuch districts in Gujarat, it is true, but old news. 

In October 2017, PM Modi inaugurated the first phase of Roll-On-Roll-off (Ro-Ro) ferry service between Bharuch’s Dahej and Bhavnagar’s Ghogha. This was just weeks before the state assembly elections. 

As per a video shared by PM Modi in 2017, this ferry would reduce travel time between the districts from eight hours to one hour (360km to 31km). Further, the ferry vessel shall transport 70-80 trucks or 100 light-weight motor vehicles with 500 passengers. You can read other tweets by PM Modi on the same occasion here

After the ferry was suspended due to dredging issues in Dahej,  the Adani firm recently won the bid to provide Ro-Ro ferry service between Hazira in Surat and Ghoga in Bhavnagar district. 

Conclusion

Our research makes it clear that the ferry service connecting Bhavnagar and Bharuch districts in Gujarat is not a new or recent initiative. Also contrary to the distance claimed, the Ro-Ro ferry reduced it from 360km to 31km. The ferry’s capacity figures are misleading as well. Finally, the accompanying video is in fact of the Braemar cruise in Corinth Canal, Greece. 

Result: Misleading

Our Sources

Amazing Greece: https://twitter.com/Amazing_Greece/status/1182560844762308608?s=20

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oPkrmTELao8

Marine Insight: https://www.marineinsight.com/know-more/the-corinthian-canal-a-narrow-man-made-shipping-canal/

The Telegraph UK: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/cruises/articles/corinth-canal-largest-cruise-ship-braemar/

Daily Mail: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7563541/Biggest-cruise-ship-squeeze-Corinth-Canal-Greece-makes-just-3ft-spare.html

Financial Express: https://www.financialexpress.com/photos/business-gallery/901833/narendra-modi-gujarat-visit-pm-inaugrates-ghogha-dahej-ro-ro-ferry-service-in-bhavnagar-see-spectacular-photos/5/

Times of India: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/rajkot/pm-modi-inaugurates-his-dream-project/articleshow/61177505.cms

PM Narendra Modi: https://twitter.com/search q=ghogha%20dahej%20ferry%20(from%3Anarendramodi)&src=typeahead_click

Indian Express: https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/ahmedabad/adani-firm-wins-ro-ro-terminal-bid-for-hazira-offers-lease-of-rs-1-month-6489009/


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2016 Video Of A Siren Shared With Misleading Claims Related To Ongoing India-China Dispute In Ladakh

The video in context was posted on Youtube in 2016 with the description, “The largest air-raid siren in the world.”

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2016 video of a defender siren shared with misleading claims

A Twitter user claimed that the Chinese army used a loudspeaker at the Indian military camp in Ladakh causing vomiting and injury to the ear drums of Indian soldiers. The tweet is accompanied by a 30-second video which shows a rotating siren with blaring sound. 

Posted from the Twitter handle @ichinaTV on 24 September, the tweet reads, “#china #India The Chinese army uses this super loud speaker to play music at the Indian military camp in Ladakh! A large number of Indian soldiers’ eardrums were injured and vomiting”

The same user retweeted the above tweet on 28 September writing, “Because China and India have signed an agreement to prohibit the use of guns within two kilometers of LAC! Therefore, China has developed this sonic weapon. The video is only a low-power display, and the actual volume and audio are more intense!”

Fact Check/ Verification 

Through a reverse image search on InVid, a video verification tool, we came across a Youtube video titled, “LIONKING Defender Siren” posted in March, 2016. 

InVid search result of "Lion King Defender Siren"
InVid search result of “Lion King Defender Siren”

The video was published by an account named Elsa Chen and has over 47 lakh views till date. It’s description reads, “The largest air-raid siren in the world. Produced by Taizhou LionKing Signal Co.,Ltd. websites: http://www.lionking-firerescue.com. Email: elsa@lionking-firerescue.com

The link in the video’s description led us to a website named Lion King. According to the website, “Taizhou Lion King Signal Co., Ltd. is a professional company specialized in making various sirens, rescue air cushions, PPV blowers,Smoke Ejectors and Line throwers.”

Listed in the products section of the website, a product called “Defender Siren” looked similar to the one from the claim. 

Defender Siren, a product by Taizhou Lion King Signal Co., Ltd.
Defender Siren, a product by Taizhou Lion King Signal Co., Ltd.

The video from the claim was shared by another user in September, 2017 though with a different audio in the background. 

The claim in context was shared days after Chinese troops played Punjabi songs at their forward posts in Ladakh amid the ongoing territorial dispute. At the time, the Indian soldiers were known to be at Finger 4, a height overlooking the positions of the Peoples Liberation Army. 

On 17 September, Hindustan Times reported that “according to a former Indian Army chief, the PLA used the same loudspeaker tactics in 1962 skirmishes in the western and eastern sectors as well during the 1967 Nathu La skirmish.” 

You can read our Hindi fact check on this claim here

Conclusion 

Our research makes it clear that the Chinese army did not use a loudspeaker at the Indian military camp in Ladakh recently. The video in the claim is from 2016 and shows a product called Defender Siren.

Result: Misleading

Our Sources

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xrSSArQoFWc

Lion King-FireRescue website: http://www.lionking-firerescue.com/


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