A digitally altered image showing a projection of Hindu deity Ram on the Burj Khalifa, the popular skyscraper of Dubai, is being shared with the false claim that it shows a recent instance of celebration of the Hindu festival Ram Navami, on the iconic building.
BOOM found that the image has been altered to digitally add the visuals of the Hindu deity Rama on the Burj Khalifa. The original image, a stock photo, does not contain the deity's image.
The event of Ram Navami, which was observed on March 30, 2023, was followed by several incidents of sporadic violence being reported from across the country. According to a news report, several incidents of stone pelting and arson in states of West Bengal, Bihar, Maharashtra and Gujarat, reportedly triggered communal tensions around the celebrations.
The viral image shared on social media with a mute icon, appears to be a screenshot of a video showing a laser projection of the Hindu deity Rama on the Burj Khalifa. The Dubai landmark is known for the display of its unique laser and shows on the skyscraper.
The edited image also has a text "Jai Shri Ram" written above it. The photograph is viral with a caption, "The strength of New India. RAM NAVAMI Celebration in Burj Khalifa, Dubai.”
The same image is circulating on Twitter with similar claims.
View an archived tweet here.
The same image, along with the mute icon and emojis and, was also shared on Twitter. This shows that the viral image has been cropped out of an image shared as a story on Facebook .
BOOM also received the image on its WhatsApp tipline (+91 7700906588) for verification.
BOOM checked the verified Facebook page of the Burj Khalifa and found that it had recently projected a display to commemorate Bangladesh’s 52nd independence day on March 26. On the same day it also displayed a message on the Earth hour, a global movement to promote awareness about the planet by switching off unnecessary lights for an hour, in the evening.
A Facebook post by the page on March 30 announced that the last laser and light show for the season would be held on March 31.
We were unable to find any post on the Burj Khalifa’s verified social media pages of Facebook and Instagram suggesting that visuals on the Ram Navami festival were displayed on March 30 on the skyscraper.
Additionally, BOOM could not find any authentic news reports or official confirmation from Burj Khalifa stating that it was lit up to celebrate Ram Navami.
BOOM further ran a reverse image search on the viral image and found a highly similar image available on the stock photo sites, istockphoto and Adobe Stock. However, this image showed the entire tower without any projected visuals of the Hindu deity over it. The photo was uploaded on the stock images site in February, 2016.
We did a comparison of the stock photo image with the viral photo - and found that the other elements of the photo were an exact match, thus showing that the viral image has been edited.
BOOM had earlier debunked a doctored video made with the online editing app, ‘Buigo’ which claimed that Burj Khalifa projected Congress Leader Rahul Gandhi’s image on it. These apps can allow users to project laser display on Burj Khalifa with their chosen image.
Read the fact-check article here.
A spokesperson for the Burj Khalifa confirmed to BOOM that the viral image was not authentic.
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