A distressing image showing four children including an infant, wounded and covered in rubble dust is being shared on Facebook as survivors of a train crash in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh. However, the actual photo appears to be from Syria and is at least over 4 years old.
Shared on the Facebook profile of one Yogendra Rai Kiratee on December 19, 2018 the post has been shared over 21,000 times at the time of writing this story.
The Hindi caption accompanying the photo loosely translates to, ‘Please do read it once – These orphaned kids were found in the train mishap in Kanpur. Share this post so much so that these kids find someone from their family. Please, brothers.’
View an archived version of the post here.
This is not the first instance of the photo going viral on Facebook. In 2017, the same picture was posted on Facebook with the same message. However, back then it wasn’t widely shared on Facebook but it did manage to gain traction on Twitter.
While the post shared from the profile of one Md Taufiq could get only 23 shares, the same photo tweeted from the Twitter handle @RoflAAPiyan was retweeted by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. While Kejriwal deleted the Tweet later, RoflAAPiyan’s twitter handle has been suspended.
Times of India also wrote a story on Kejriwal’s tweet. Arvind Kejriwal tweets misleading photo about man’s suicide ‘due to demonetization’.
While the photograph in the now viral post is authentic, the incident mentioned in the post is not. When BOOM ran a reverse image search on the picture in the post, we were directed to some news reports carrying the same picture. The picture had been credited to photographer Mamet Badra.
However, when we tried looking for the picture with the keywords ‘Badra Mamet’and ‘Syria’ on the official website of Reuters, we could not find the same image. Later, we did a Facebook search for Badra Mamet. The profile had the same image (posted on December 31, 2014) which led us to a report published by the website www.independent.ie also in the year 2014.
According to the caption, these children are survivors of air strikes that were carried out by forces loyal to Syrian president Bashar al-Assad in Douma, a Syrian city near Damascus.
We also found another tweet dating back to 2014 showing the same image.
— Michelle Demishevich (@demishevich) October 3, 2014
The train accident that this post is referring to is the December 2016 accident near Kanpur which claimed the lives of over 150 people. It was on November 10, 2016, when the Patna-Indore Express had derailed some 60 kilometres from Kanpur.
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Sumit is a fact checker and the News Editor of Boom's Hindi wing. In the six years of his journalistic career, he has worked with the New Indian Express, Times of India and Deccan Chronicle. The dynamic nature of digital media finally made him take the leap from print to online, and don the hat of a digital detective.
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