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Viral Photograph Of Sonia Gandhi With Book “How To Convert India Into Christian Nation” Is Edited

A photograph of Sonia Gandhi has gone viral on social media in the past week. The photograph shows the Congress President sitting in front of a bookshelf. The title of one among the many books on the bookshelf reads, “How to convert India into Christian nation”. With this, the ‘Holy Bible’ and a statute of Jesus can also be seen. 

Social media users have shared this photograph with the caption, “Zoom and see right side. One book titled *”How to convert India into Christian nation”*. Any further proof required?”

Screenshot of claim_Sonia Gandhi's bookshelf includes a book titled "How to convert India into Christian nation"
Screenshot of claim_Sonia Gandhi’s bookshelf includes a book titled “How to convert India into Christian nation”

Newschecker received multiple queries to verify this photograph on its Whatsapp tipline (9999499044). 

Several users shared this claim on Twitter and Facebook as well. 

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

Fact Check / Verification

We performed a Google reverse image search of the viral photograph in context. This led us to an article updated by Hindustan Times on 8 December 2020. Titled, “Sonia Gandhi not to celebrate her birthday in view of farmers’ protests, Covid-19,” the article includes an image similar to the viral photograph. 

On observing the image published by Hindustan Times, we noticed that the title, “How to convert India into Christian nation” was not on the bookshelf behind Gandhi. Infact, neither the Bible nor the statue of Jesus could be seen here. 

2020 Hindustan Times article on Sonia Gandhi not celebrating her 74th birthday
2020 Hindustan Times article on Sonia Gandhi not celebrating her 74th birthday

With further relevant search, we found an October 2020 tweet by the official Twitter account of Mumbai Youth Congress. The tweet includes a video of Sonia Gandhi wearing the exact same outfit and seated in front of the bookshelf as shown in the viral photograph. Translated from Hindi to English, the tweet reads, “’It is the wind of change.’ I am sharing with you the message of Congress President Smt. Sonia Gandhi to the people of Bihar. It’s time for a new Bihar to unite and win the Grand Alliance #MaiHunBihar”

We could not see the book titled, “How to convert India into Christian nation,” the Bible or the statue of Jesus in this video. 

In fact, we found several other videos of Sonia Gandhi seated in front of the same bookshelf, published at different points in time. In none of these videos could we see the claimed books or the statue of Jesus on the bookshelf. 

We compared the viral image (Left) with a screenshot from the video published by Mumbai  Youth Congress (Right). It’s clear that the viral image has been edited to mislead viewers. 

Comparison of the viral image (Left) with a screenshot from the video published by Mumbai Youth Congress (Right)
Comparison of the viral image (Left) with a screenshot from the video published by Mumbai Youth Congress (Right)

Twitter handle @noconversion’s post with the edited image published on 31 May garnered 2.5K likes and over 750 retweets. 

Also Read: Puducherry CM Narayanasamy Mistranslates To Rahul Gandhi, Later Clarifies On Twitter

Conclusion

Viral photograph of Sonia Gandhi with book titled, “How to convert India into Christian nation”, a Bible and a statue of Jesus on the bookshelf behind her is morphed. 

Result: Manipulated Media

Our Sources

Hindustan Times: https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/sonia-gandhi-not-to-celebrate-her-birthday-over-farmers-protests-covid-19/story-las7rP0QktZh2MLtTUE8dI.html

Mumbai Youth Congress: https://twitter.com/IYC_Mumbai/status/1321015800220663808

Older videos of Sonia Gandhi: https://twitter.com/search?q=From%3AINCIndia%20sonia%20Gandhi%20filter%3Avideos&src=recent_search_click&f=live


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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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