A photograph from Dec 2020 is viral as the recent crowded streets of Manali.
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While it stands true that the viral image of crowded streets is from Manali, the timeline is wrong. The picture that is circulating at a viral pace on social media is from December 2020, before India was caught in the massive second wave of COVID-19. But, the fact that Manali is experiencing immense inflow of tourists even in these alarming period, is true. However, the viral image from Manali’s Mall Road is falsely spread on social media. as recent. The image showing a massively crowded street in Manali was shared to question the callousness of people for violating COVID-19 norms amidst the warning of a third wave.
Several posts were shared on Facebook and Twitter by multiple people claiming that it is a recent image from Manali.
The photo was shared on Twitter by Amarpreet Singh. Pictures speak- No room in hospital to no room in hotels at Manali in some days,” the tweet read.
Pictures speak- No room in hospital to no room in hotels at Manali in some days. 😷#manali pic.twitter.com/uKkLFRyMW9
— Amarpreet Singh (@amarpreet_ka) July 4, 2021
Later, police officer Arun Bothra, who is currently serving as the transport commissioner in the state of Odisha, also shared the photo. This particular tweet got over 1,100 retweets and 9,000 likes.
हर शाख़ पे उल्लू बैठा है अंजाम-ए-गुलिस्ताँ क्या होगा।
Manali, Himachal Pradesh. pic.twitter.com/eoM6mOulWp
— Arun Bothra 🇮🇳 (@arunbothra) July 5, 2021
As #Manali trends, hotels running out of beds. Do we soon want to hear "Hospital running out of beds" again? Haven't we learned any lesson? #COVID19 #3rdWave pic.twitter.com/vMXVgwX6zn
— Dr. Somdutta Singh (@som_tweether) July 5, 2021
Besides, the photo was also used by several news outlets to cover the story regarding the crowd in Manali. This includes Livemint, Republic, Hindustan Times, Financial Express and others. ScoopWhoop which is a popular online entertainment and news platform also came up with a series of memes that went viral on the social media. All these memes were created in the backdrop of the false heavy crowd observed in Manali, recently.
Needless to mention, the information regardless of being false was enough to begin a meme riot on Twitter. It’s true that as soon as the lockdown was lifted, people started flooding tourist spots, including Manali like never before. Manali experienced a huge footfall of visitors, alarming the whole country. This comes at a time when the third wave of coronavirus is being speculated to hit us by August this year itself.
Although the photo is of Manali but is from December 2020, not recent as claimed.
Upon fact checking the viral image was found to be posted in Facebook, on 23 January,2021 by a Facebook account named Amigosblink.
Later, the account had verified with a post on Facebook that the viral image was captured by them on 31st December 2020 and that it is not a recent picture.
Further, on 6 July 2021, Amigosblink which is a Manali based production house also shared a time-lapse showing similar crowd at the same location and verified that it was taken on 31 December 2020. Thus, proving the recent viral image to be false. The video was captioned as “new year eve Manali , 31st December, 2020”. On 31 December 2020, the handle had gone LIVE on Facebook from the same location in Manali, in which a huge crowd could be seen on the street.
While the viral image is not a recent image, there are reports that have discussed the crowd observed in Manali recently. Tourists can be seen in Manali as the government of Himachal Pradesh relaxed COVID restrictions, recently.
#WATCH | Tourists throng Manali town in Kullu district as Himachal Pradesh government eases COVID restrictions pic.twitter.com/snIiwfcIo5
— ANI (@ANI) July 5, 2021
Thus, it is proven that the viral image on social media today is not a recent one, but dates back to 31st December 2020. It was captured by a production house based out of Manali, Amigosblink. Nevertheless, maskless faces and crowded streets can be seen in present day Manali in Kullu district, but the particular viral image is not a recent one.