A set of photos showing India's ambassador to Belarus cut a cake fashioned after the Indian flag, is being shared online misidentifying the woman as Facebook India's Public Policy head Ankhi Das. The images are going viral with a false claim that Das disrespected the tricolour.
The photos are being shared in the backdrop of a recent article in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) accusing Facebook of overlooking infringements of its own hate-speech policies in India fearing a backlash from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). WSJ reported that Das had allegedly advised the platform against taking action against hate speech by members of the BJP, to avoid "damaging the company's business prospects in the country".
The photos are being shared with the caption when translated reads, "India will not tolerate this insult to the country, Facebook's Aankhi Das made a tricolor cake and cut it!"
(In Hindi - देश का अपमान नहीं सहेगा हिंदुस्तान ,फेसबुक की आंखी दास ने तिरंगे का केक बनाकर काटा !)
Viral on Facebook
The images were being shared with the misleading caption on Facebook.
BOOM found that the photos are from the celebrations of India's 74th Independence Day at the Indian embassy in Belarus.
We found a Facebook post by Sangeeta Bahadur, the Indian Ambassador to the Republic of Belarus, that had photos of her standing near the same tricoloured cake at the Independence day event at the embassy.
The Facebook posted on August 16, 2020, had photos from the independence day event at the Embassy in Minsk, in which the same tricoloured cake can be seen. The post reads, "In the midst of the ongoing turmoil in Belarus, we celebrated India's 74th Independence Day at the Embassy in Minsk..."
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We found that some photos had been removed from the Facebook post, and on viewing an archive, we found a photo of Bahadur standing in front of the same tricoloured cake.
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Photos from the Independence day celebration event were also tweeted by India in Belarus official Twitter account on August 17, 2020.
Here are some glimpses of celebration of 74th Independence Day of India. We would like to thank everyone who joined the celebrations at the Embassy.#AatmaNirbharBharat#OneYearOfDevelopment pic.twitter.com/LDSeBJ2VNk— India in Belarus (@amb_in) August 17, 2020
On comparing the viral photo with a photo from the independence day event, we found that the Indian ambassador is present in both the photos. One can spot her wearing the same outfit in both the photos.
BOOM reached out to Bahadur for a response, the article will be updated if we receive a response.
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