An image showing billboards carrying photos of Lord Ram is being circulated to claim that Times Square in US’ New York city showcased them ahead of the Bhoomi Pujan ceremony of Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, on 5 August.
However, the image in circulation has been photoshopped and created using an online generator.
Although it was earlier reported that Times Square will showcase 3D images of Lord Ram and the Ram Temple at Ayodhya on 5 August, now a group of 1,660 Indian-Americans, including from organisations like the India Civil Watch International and Hindus for Human Rights, have come together to protest against it.
The claim shared along with the images suggests that it shows Times Square showcasing the images “an hour ago” and “this morning.”
The image shared by one Avinash Gorakshakar on Twitter had garnered 1,800 likes at the time of publishing this article.
Several Facebook users have also shared the image with a similar narrative.
The Quint received a query on the claim being made in the viral image on its WhatsApp helpline as well.
WHAT WE FOUND OUT
While it has been widely reported that the billboards of New York City’s iconic Times Square will beam 3D image advertisements of Lord Ram and the Ram Temple at Ayodhya, to celebrate the foundation laying ceremony of the temple, however, this is supposed to happen on 5 August.
The Quint’s WebQoof team had earlier debunked images created using billboard generators. Consequently, we reverse searched the image on Google along with keywords “times square generator.”
We found the exact template used in the viral image on a website called “makesweet.com.”
We further noticed that the viral image is a mirrored image of the said template. For instance, the green-coloured billboard is on the left in the online template, however, it’s on the right in the viral image.
Further, the advertisement of the yellow bottle is on the left in the online template, but is on the right in the viral image. The same logic applies to the cars seen on the road in both the images.
We, then, tried to create our own image using the template. Just like the viral image. We, too, created a mirror image of the template and found that the elements in both the images are the same.
Further, we noticed that one of the pictures used in the viral image has been pulled out from Alamy’s collection of stock images. The text highlighted in yellow reads: “Alamy stock photo.”
Alamy had uploaded the image with the caption: “Sri Vadapathira Kaliamman Hindu temple. Avatar of Vishnu. Lord Rama 7th incarnation. Singapore.”
Clearly, an image created using online generator is viral with the false claim that it shows Ram idols being displayed at Times Square in US.
A lot of misinformation is doing the rounds ahead of the Bhoomi Pujan ceremony of Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, on 5 August. The Quint’s WebQoof team has debunked several such images and videos with the latest one being an old Hyderabad video used to claim that it shows decoration of the pandal of the said ceremony.
(Update: The story has been updated to reflect that Indian-Americans organisations are protesting against projecting images of Hindu deity Ram and 3D portraits of the temple on the billboards.)