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Fact Check: No, PM Modi's visit to military hospital in Leh was not staged

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Prime Minister Modi's photographs of his visit to soldiers recuperating in a hospital ward in Leh were being shared with a false suggestion that the ward was ‘set-up’ for the cameras.

On July 3rd, Prime Minister  Narendra Modi visited the capital of the union territory of Ladakh, Leh, to interact with the army, air force, and the Indo-Tibetan border police in the wake of the recent clash between Indian and the Chinese Army in Galwan valley. An important part of PM's itinerary during his day-long trip was his visit to a military hospital to meet Indian Army soldiers injured in violent clashes, images of which, has sparked a controversy on social media. 

A section of social media users including members of the Congress party has claimed that a conference hall was converted into a ward for theatrics and photo-op. 

National media panelist of Congress, Abhishek Dutt, put out a tweet in Hindi that can be roughly translated to, “How does this look like a hospital – no drip, a photographer in place of a doctor, no medicines with the beds, no water.”

Ashok Swain tweeted a picture saying that the hospital visited by PM was actually staged. He wrote, "Nearly 3 weeks have passed - Look at the number of Indian soldiers are still being treated in a hospital in Leh, who were injured in the clash with Chinese troops. For Modi's 'photo shoot', their number and identity get exposed!" 

A Twitter handle, RealHistoryPic, also put out a similar claim saying," A Good Photographer always choose a good set/studio to take photographs, here A conference room is converted into a hospital to take memorable photographs however Munnabhai forgot to arrange dustbin, Drip and oxygen stand to give a perfect look to fool his parents.(2020)."

The truth behind the claim 

On July 4, the Indian Army issued a clarification stating that the room Modi visited was indeed part of the military hospital but one that had been outfitted to meet the shortage of space generated by the need to convert the main areas of the hospital into COVID isolation centers.

Calling the accusations of a staged visit “malicious and unsubstantiated”, the army said: “The said facility is part of the Crisis Expansion capacity of 100 beds and is very much part of the General Hospital complex. The COVID-19 protocol had necessitated some wards of the General Hospital to be converted into isolation facilities. Hence, this hall which otherwise was normally used as a Training Audio Video Hall was converted into a ward ever since the hospital was also designated as COVID treatment hospital. The injured braves have been kept there since their arrival from Galwan to ensure quarantine from COVID areas. The Chief of Army Staff General M M Naravane and the Army Commander have also visited the injured braves in the same location.”

Army Chief General MM Naravane had also visited soldiers in the same ward as PM Modi on June 23 during his two-day visit to Eastern Ladakh. One can clearly see the same setup including the same curtains and same photo frames in these pictures also. 

You can also find the video of the same down below.

Here is a comparison between the photos of PM's visit and the Army Chief's visit.

In response to these unverified claims, Major Navdeep Singh wrote, “The soldiers are not there for major physical injuries but for recuperation cum debriefing, a standard process.”

In conclusion, Prime Minister Modi's photographs of his visit to soldiers recuperating in a hospital ward in Leh were being shared with a false suggestion that the ward was ‘set-up’ for the cameras.

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