An image of a woman cooking on a bamboo raft in a flooded region is going viral on Twitter and Facebook. The viral picture has been used several times for flood-related stories in India. It has now resurfaced and netizens are sharing it heavily. The caption with the video read,
“जब तक भेद नहीं खुला था तब तक दाढ़ी और बातें तो आसाराम की भी अच्छी लगती थी, वर्तमान भारत की जीती जागती #तस्वीर!”
Translation: “Until we found out the truth, even Asaram’s beard and words felt good! The living picture of present India!”
जब तक भेद नहीं खुला था
तब तक दाढ़ी और बातें तो
आसाराम की भी अच्छी लगती थी ….
— Suraj Gupta (इंसानियत ही धर्म है) (@SurajGuptaAAP) July 23, 2021
— Sanchita Bashu (@Sanchita_bashu) July 23, 2021
Notably, The Times of India has mentioned that the story is of two Indias, Chennai and Assam. However, the image is neither from Chennai nor Assam. Similarly, DNA’s article on Assam floods affecting the entire North-East region also featured the widely shared picture.
The viral image is old and not from India. It’s from Bangladesh.
To find the correct details of the photo, we ran a reverse image search on it. The results gave us the pdf of an emergency action plan published on the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), a humanitarian organization founded in 1919.
The report featured the image with the caption, “Flood situation in Kurigram, (Photo: RDRS).” Kurigram district is in Northern Bangladesh along the country’s border with India. Also, the date of issue of the report reads 16th August 2016.
In another search result, we found that a Pinterest user had uploaded the image on their account. Along with it, the Pinterest post also had a link to a Facebook profile. Clicking on it, we ended up on the Facebook account of a photographer named Shamsul Haque Suza.
We then looked through his profile, found a contact number and tried contacting him.
Upon queries about the viral image, he said,
“I took this picture on 19th July 2016 at Ulipur Upazila, Kurigram District in Bangladesh.”
In 2016, Suza’s employer RDRS picked him to cover the floods in Bangladesh, especially in the North-West area. Working in the affecting region, he found a family trapped there. Suza saw that the mother was cooking something on a bamboo raft. Walking up to them, he realized that she was boiling plain water and trying to convince her children that she was preparing food for them. Suza added, “It was a pathetic scenery for all of us who went for covering the flood story. We helped them with food and also sheltered them. During that meeting, I took some snaps, one of which earned me a lot of applause, praise and even awards from both Bangladesh and Kolkata.”
In addition to that, he provided us with the original copy of the image. To corroborate the investigation findings so far, we ran a forensic check on the original image using a simple digital picture analysis tool called Fotoforensics.
The results provided us with complete information about the image, including the EXIF data. Exchangeable Image File Format or EXIF stores essential data such as camera exposure, date/time the image was captured and so on. According to the EXIF data, the create date and the original date of the image is 19th July 2016. The data also clearly mentions that the artist’s name is Shamsul Haque Suza.
Hence, with the evidence, we can conclude that the viral image is old and from Bangladesh falsely shared as a click from India.