Social media posts claiming LuLu Mall in Kerala displayed the Pakistan flag above the flags of other countries including India as part of its display for the ongoing ICC men's ODI cricket World Cup 2023, are false.
The ICC Cricket ODI World Cup 2023 is being hosted in India with 10 nations participating in the tournament that began on October 5, 2023 and will end on November 19.
A photo where the Pakistani flag hoisted vertically from the atrium's ceiling appears to be higher than the Indian and Dutch flags, has gone viral on X (formerly Twitter) to make the false and communal claim.
The viral posts on X and Facebook are being shared with the caption, "Lulu Mall, Cochin, had put in a huge flag of Paxtan and a little flag of India. When this turned against them they removed both flags becos u cannot have India without P… I mean who would care for P then??" (sic)
Click here to view X post
Click here to view the X post
The same photo was also posted on X by right-wing political analyst Pradeep Bhandari who claimed, "This picture is from Lulu Mall in Kerala. Pakistan's flag was displayed & placed above the tricolour to celebrate the ongoing cricket World Cup. This is a breach of the flag code, concerned authorities should take note."
Click here to view the X (formerly Twitter)
BOOM found that the national flags of all participating countries in the world cup were placed at the same height at LuLu Mall in Kochi.
We reached out to a LuLu mall representative from Kochi who sent us an official statement denying the viral claim along with several photos of the display that were taken on October 10, 2023.
The image taken from ground level show all the flags were displayed at the same elevation.
The statement by LuLu Mall provided to BOOM, when translated from Malayalam to English said,
"As part of the Cricket World Cup, the flags of the respective countries were hoisted at Lulu Mall in Kochi on the opening day of the cricket match. In the mall atrium (centre) flags of different countries were hung at the same level from the ceiling down. When the flags are photographed from above, especially when photographed from the side of the path, the flags on their respective sides appear larger, but when photographed from below, it is understood that everything is of equal size (note the given image)."
The statement also dismissed the claim that the Pakistani flag is bigger than the Indian flag or placed at a higher elevation,
"While it is natural for each country's flag to look larger when viewed from the photographed side, it is completely wrong and false to propagate the size of Pakistan's flag without understanding this fact."
We also did a comparison of photos taken from different angles. The flag closer to the camera appears to be higher even though all the flags are at the same height.
LuLu Mall is owned by UAE-based Indian businessman and billionaire Yusuf Ali MA, whose group has various mall chains in different parts of the country including in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh. The Lulu group has been a target of misinformation by right-wing handles on social media. BOOM has also previously debunked misinformation around LuLu Mall, Lucknow in July 2022, when social media posts went viral falsely claiming that three Hindu men identified in a police circular had disguised themselves as Muslims and offered namaz at LuLu Mall.