Photo of Iraqi Army Circulated as Indian During Kerala Rescue Ops
There are enough clues in the photograph suggesting that it is not of rescue operations in Kerala.
“No words 🙏 True Indian can never ignore this pic. This is our army… They will do anything for us🙏.”
This text accompanies a picture of a soldier bending down so a woman can use his back to step out of a truck. It has been shared by Facebook pages that routinely use themes of nationalism and Indian Army to strike an emotional chord with their readers. Post Card Fans, India against Paid Media, My India and are some of the pages that have posted this image, which has a combined share count of over 18,000.
There are enough clues in the photograph that point out it is not of rescue operations in Kerala. However, as always, the emotional appeal of the message clouds judgement and the picture is currently viral on the internet.
A Twitter user, Jitendra Pratap Singh, who is followed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has tweeted, “इतनी भी तमीज नही की जवान के पीठ पर पैर रखने के पहले जूती उतार लें ..जूती के सोल की नोक कितनी चुभी होगी ..इनके मां बाप कभी इन्हें तमीज सलीका सँस्कार नही सिखाते” (She doesn’t even have the manners to take off her shoes….the heel of the shoe must have hurt him so much…their parents never teach them manners, principles and values – translated)
Where Is the Image Really From?
A simple Google reverse search reveals some interesting details about the picture. It is of a member of the Iraqi PMU (Popular Mobilization Units) helping a civilian after the city of Fallujah was freed from ISIS in June 2016.
The image has been at the center of an international fake news controversy as well. In December 2016, the Syrian envoy to the United Nations was widely criticised for using it to show how pro-government forces were ‘liberating’ city of Aleppo. “Syria UN ambassador caught using fake photo at council” Al Jazeera ran a headline at the time. The photograph has traveled around the world and now reached India.
The same image was also circulated during Kashmir floods and claimed to be that of the Indian army.
The picture, originally of Iraqi PMU, has been passed off as a picture of Turkey’s military men and has been shared in the praise of Turkish army in the past.
The Indian army is playing a stellar role in Kerala flood rescue operations. It doesn’t need those circulating misleading images to whip up support.
(This story was first published on AltNews and has been republished with permission.)
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