Fact Check: Did Washington Post use old image of Lal Chowk to depict the current situation in Srinagar

Posted on 2019-09-10 11:54:54 by Himani Joshi


The picture of the same spot with anti-India slogans written on shop's doors in Srinagar is available on the web since 2016.

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On 9th September, an Indian Journalist Barkha Dutt wrote an article on Washington post to call out journalists for showing a one-sided story or covering Kashmir's situation without its historical context.

The headline of the article is "How Indian and international journalists are missing the full story in Kashmir".

The representational or cover image of the article shows a man reading a newspaper outside a closed shop in Srinagar. Many anti-India slogans like "Go India Go Back" and "We are not with India" have been written on the closed gates of the shops.

The caption of the picture reads, "Closed shops in Srinagar, the main city in India-controlled Kashmir. (Getty Images/Getty Images)". Since the story is about the current situation in Kashmir and the picture is un-dated, many readers can think that the picture was taken after the abrogation of Article 370 and 35A.

According to Getty Images, the picture was clicked by Yawar Nazir on September 9, 2019. The description of the picture in Getty Images reads:

India Revokes Kashmir's Special Status
SRINAGAR, KASHMIR, INDIA - SEPTEMBER 09: A Kashmiri man reads a newspaper in front of closed shops covered with graffiti in the closed commercial hub of the city center during curfew like restrictions on September 09, 2019 in Srinagar, the summer capital of Indian administered Kashmir, India. Indian authorities have deployed thousands of government forces in Kashmir after India revoked articles 370 and 35A. The media are still facing a continued communications blackout as the blockade goes in to a second month. Article 35A of the Indian Constitution was an article that empowered the Jammu and Kashmir state's legislature to define permanent residents of the state and provided special rights and privileges to those permanent residents, also preventing non-locals from buying or owning property in the state. Prior to 1947, Jammu and Kashmir was a princely state under the British Empire. It was added to the Constitution through a Presidential Order. The Constitution Order 1954, (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) was issued by the President of India on 14 May, 1954 in accordance with Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, and with the concurrence of the Government of the State of Jammu and Kashmir. Kashmir has been a state under siege, with both India and Pakistan laying claim to it. Human rights organizations say more than 80,000 have died in the two decade long conflict with the Indian government claiming the number as 42,000. (Photo by Yawar Nazir/ Getty Images)

So, according to Getty Images, the picture indeed depicts the current situation of Jammu and Kashmir.

Picture of the same place with same slogans was clicked in 2016

After a simple google reverse image research, we found that the image of closed shops painted with graffiti with different slogans was clicked in 2016 as well. The picture was clicked by Nissar Ahmad.

The picture was used by The Hindu in 2016. According to the report, the picture is of Lal Chowk, Srinagar. The caption reads:

Children sits in front of closed shops painted with graffiti during curfew at Lal Chowk in Srinagar on Friday. Photo: Nissar Ahmad | Photo Credit: NISSAR AHMAD;NISSAR AHMAD -

A picture of the same place was used on July 26, 2017 by Dawn to show a vendor waiting for customers during a strike.

Another picture of the spot shows that it is indeed from Lal chowk Srinagar.

If we compare all the images, the background of closed shops painted with graffiti is similar with the same handwriting and quote. If the picture used by Washinton Post was indeed clicked on 9th September 2019, then it means that these slogans exist on these shop's gates since 2016.

However, it beyond our capabilities to verify these pictures independently as of now. 

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