Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju was called out on Twitter after he tried to pass off pictures of apple trees at a hotel in Srinagar as an “orchard.”
“While visiting Apple Orchard the local Kashmiris urged me to share these pictures with the public. I promised them,” he wrote on Twitter, drawing ridicule.
Many Twitter users including former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah were quick to pounce on Rijiju, pointing out that the “apple orchard” was actually the The Lalit Palace Hotel, Srinagar, and the locals the Minister was referring to seemed to be security personnel.
“This is Lalit Grand Palace Srinagar not someone’s apple orchard. 2. There aren’t any Kashmiris in the photo other than staff/security,” a Twitter user wrote.
“Logics (sic) don’t work with Sanghis,” wrote another.
Omar Abdullah, who retweeted the pictures, also took a jibe at Rijiju. “Very nice, Kashmiri apples are the best & The Lalit Palace, Srinagar has some excellent trees. Thank you for promoting our produce,” he wrote.
This is not the first instance of a BJP minister or leader being called out for using fake or photoshopped images to advance their views.
India Today recently reported on how “fake photos became a part of the BJP’s social media narrative.”
One of the examples the report cited was of BJP spokesman Sambit Patra.
During a “debate” last year on Times Now on an order from the Ministry of Human Resources Development to erect 207-foot high steel flagpoles and giant tricolour flags in central universities across India, Patra had shown an image on his tablet of “Indian jawans, Indian soldiers dying, but holding up the tricolour, at the border.”
In reality, however, it was the Pulitzer Prize winning photograph titled Raising the Flag at Iwo Jima, taken by Joe Rosenthal on February 23, 1945, on Mount Suribachi in the island of Iwo Jima in the Pacific Ocean, in the days leading up to the battle of Okinawa during the final months of World War II.