A collage, which claims to show two photographs from Uttarakhand's Nainital taken 12 years apart, is being shared on social media.
While one photo shows a rather empty Mall Road at the hill station, the other shows a large crowd offering namaz publicly. While the claim doesn't state anything, the indication is towards 'a growing Muslim population'.
But the second picture, which has been used to push the 'Muslim population narrative,' is actually from Bangladesh and was taken during the annual Biswa Ijtema gathering.
While there is no clear claim, the pictorial reference has been used to insinuate that the Muslim population has grown in the state of Uttarakhand.
WHAT WE FOUND OUT
On conducting a reverse image search of the first image marked as 'Nainital 2010' on Google, we came across a travel website named Indian Holiday, which had posted the same image on 26 April 2022.
The article mentioned about hotels at Mall Road in Nainital.
Next, we noticed a board of 'Domino's Pizza' and 'Alka Hotel' in the image.
On geolocating the area, one can see that the picture is indeed from Mall Road.
THE SECOND IMAGE IS FROM BANGLADESH
We also conducted a reverse image search on the second picture and came across a report published by news organisation Al Jazeera on 24 January 2018, which carried the same image.
The image was taken in Bangladesh during the annual Islamic gathering, Biswa Ijtema. This mass prayer offering took place on the banks of the Turag River, 35 km from Dhaka.
This is the second-largest Muslim gathering which witnesses over two million people from over 130 countries.
Evidently, a photograph from Bangladesh is being falsely shared as a recent image from Nainital.
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