A tweet by Vikas Swarup, India’s High Commissioner to Canada about the Niagara Falls being lit up in the colours of the Indian flag on August 15th created a controversy on Thursday with many claiming the picture was photoshopped.
Swarup’s tweet, which got over 2700 Likes and over 1500 retweets at the time of writing this story, also attracted a fair share of detractors.
Niagara Falls becomes Freedom Falls to commemorate 70th Anniversary of India’s Independence. Great to see it draped in Indian flag colours. pic.twitter.com/oW5cfcUOmb
— Vikas Swarup (@VikasSwarup) August 16, 2017
— Seafarer🇨🇦⚓️ (@capthss) August 17, 2017
Some Twitter users were quick to call the image fake because the exact same picture had been used in a Times of India story from August 11th, four days earlier. Meanwhile there were no pictures of the display from official Twitter accounts related to the Niagara Park authorities.
We used Google’s Reverse Image Search and found the image appearing in Times of India’s article which was originally published on Aug 11. (Click here to view the story)
(Screenshot of Times of India’s article)
Interestingly, the print edition (see below) of the story printed a disclaimer on the image even though the web version of the article does not have one.
(TOI’s disclaimer: Artist’s impression of Niagara Falls lit up in tricolour)
Times of India’s story stated that Sibu Nair, President of India Association of Buffalo, New York was the man behind the initiative.
BOOM reached out to Sibu Nair independently. Nair confirmed that the falls were illuminated with the tricolour on August 15th for fifteen minutes at 10 pm local time.
“Being an Indian and having a great number of Indians in the US I thought it’s very important for us to show our representation across the nation. Every Indian is proud about this moment,” Nair told BOOM when asked about his motivation for doing this.
Nair also shared the below image and a video of the falls being illuminated with the tricolour.
(Image courtesy: Sibu Nair)
Source – India Buffalo Association
We also got in touch with The Niagara Parks Commission, a government agency, which confirmed that the illumination in the Indian tricolour did indeed take place on August 15.
“Yes, Niagara Falls was illuminated in Orange, White & Green on the evening of Tuesday, August 15 from 10 p.m. – 10:15 p.m. The Niagara Falls Illumination Board, of which Niagara Parks is a member, receives and reviews requests for special illumination of the Falls and as such, the request to illuminate the Falls in the Indian tricolor was approved by the Board. Though Niagara Parks does not photograph each nightly illumination, we encourage our visitors to take photos and share them over social media.” – The Niagara Parks Commission
Although many on Twitter praised the efforts of the Indian, American and Canadian governments, it was Nair who was behind the idea and requested the Niagara Parks Commission to sport the tricolour on August 15.
This is not the first time the falls have been lit up in the Indian tricolour. In 2014 it was illuminated to mark the silver jubilee celebrations of Indian-American physicians of Rajasthan Medical Alumni Association of North America (RAJMAAI). The Niagara Parks Commission confirmed the same to BOOM.
(Updates to include images of TOI’s print edition which carried a disclaimer on the picture; adds 2014 background)