IAF Helicopter Showered Petals on Migrant Workers? Not Really

A viral image was shared to falsely claim that an IAF helicopter was throwing flower petals on the migrant workers.

Updated
WebQoof
3 min read
A viral image falsely claimed that IAF helicopters showered flower petals on migrant workers.
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Indian Air Force (IAF) aircraft and helicopters on Sunday, 3 May, conducted a flypast and showered flowers on hospitals tending to coronavirus patients across the country. This was a part of a nationwide campaign by the armed forces to show support for those involved in fighting the COVID-19 outbreak.

Following this, a viral image was shared to falsely claim that an IAF helicopter was throwing flower petals on migrant workers, stranded at various places across the country because of the lockdown.

However, the image in circulation has been photoshopped using two separate images, in a bid to propagate false claims.

You can view the archived version <a href="http://archive.is/Zjrua">here</a>.
You can view the archived version here.
(Source: Twitter/ Screenshot)

CLAIM

The viral image has been shared with the caption: “They say a picture is worth a thousand words. This one is worth a million. I don't know who clicked it (someone posted it on FB) but the photographer deserves a prize for capturing every aspect of 2020 in one frame. History is made of pictures like these.”

Several users shared the image on Twitter with the claim.

You can view the archived version <a href="http://archive.is/hMCCi">here</a>.
You can view the archived version here.
(Source: Twitter/ Screenshot)

WHAT WE FOUND OUT

We divided the image into two and conducted a Google reverse image search, which led us to two different articles. One had the image of the helicopter showering flowers, while the other article carried the image of migrant workers.

A Hindustan Times article published on Sunday with the headline: “In pictures: IAF’s aerial salute to ‘COVID-19 warriors’ in Mumbai,” erroneously carried the image of the helicopter showering flowers. DNA, too, carried the image in its 3 May article.

The HT article carried the image of the helicopter in its 3 may article.
The HT article carried the image of the helicopter in its 3 may article.
(Photo Courtesy: Hindustan Times/ Screenshot)

However, we found that the image is as old as 2018. The photo was clicked by Anupam Nath from Associated Press. The image uploaded on AP Images on 26 January 2018 mentioned that it is from Guwahati.

The caption along with the image reads: “An Indian Air Force helicopter sprays flower petals during Republic Day parade in Gauhati, India, Friday, Jan. 26, 2018. India celebrated Friday's anniversary of its national constitution taking effect. (sic)”

Regarding the migrant workers’ image, we found a NDTV article that carried the same image, however no helicopter can be seen in this one.

The NDTV article used the image of migrant workers as a file photo.
The NDTV article used the image of migrant workers as a file photo.
(Photo Courtesy: NDTV/ Screenshot)

On carefully looking at the viral image, we found that unusual effects were used in the sky part of the image, in an attempt to merge the two separate images.

Unusual effects seen in the viral image (highlighted in yellow).
Unusual effects seen in the viral image (highlighted in yellow).
(Photo: Altered by The Quint)

Evidently, a photoshopped image was used to claim the the Indian Air Force helicopter on 3 May showered flower petals on migrant workers.

You can read all our coronavirus fact-checks here.

(Not convinced of a post or information you came across online and want it verified? Send us the details on WhatsApp at 9643651818, or e-mail it to us at webqoof@thequint.com and we'll fact-check it for you. You can also read all our fact-checked stories here.)

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