On the sidelines of the Modi-Xi summit in Tamil Nadu, PM Modi tweeted a video of him picking up trash at the beach in Mamallapuram, and made an appeal to keep public places clean. Soon after the video was posted online, many people on social media alleged that the exercise was staged. Karti Chidambaram, an MP for Congress from Sivaganga in Tamil Nadu, tweeted a collage of three pictures, two of which showed PM Modi picking up trash, while the third picture showed multiple individuals with camera and lighting equipment. The attempt was to show that PM Modi’s act of cleaning the beach was essentially an exercise meant for the camera, and not genuine.
Jai Shree Ram! pic.twitter.com/tGrYcdxOXE
— Karti P Chidambaram (@KartiPC) October 12, 2019
A Twitter handle Rofl Republic (@i_theindian) also shared a set of photos to suggest that Modi’s beach cleaning exercise was a sham. One of the pictures tweeted by this handle was the same as the third picture tweeted as part of the collage by Chidambaram. At the time of writing, this tweet had garnered more than 1,300 retweets.
How PM Modi’s #Plogging scene was shot:
📌Security scans the entire beach
📌Plastic wastes are strategically placed
📌Camera crew gets ready
📌And the Oscar goes to… pic.twitter.com/IfPy5nK36g
— Rofl Republic (@i_theindian) October 12, 2019
Multiple twitter users copied the set of images and the message by @i_theindian and tweeted using their individual handles, as can be seen in the video below.
Individual images from the above collection have also been shared by social media users.
Using a reverse image search, we found that the first image is that of West Sands beach at St Andrews in Scotland, a popular filming location. The image is a cropped version of a picture taken from a website called tayscreen.com.
The second image is a five month old image of Kozhikode beach in Kerala. Modi addressed an election rally in Kozhikode on April 23, 2019, in the run-up to the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections. The image shows the beach being scanned by a bomb squad in anticipation of PM’s visit. The image was published as part of an article on The Hindu.
Alt News was unable to locate the source of the third image where multiple young men can be seen with trash bags, which seems like a citizens’ beach cleaning activity. However, the other two images, one of which is from Scotland, and other from Kerala, make it clear that this was a deliberate attempt to mislead social media users by linking unrelated images to PM Modi’s beach cleaning video.