A picture depicting the Pakistani flag apparently bigger in size and apparently placed higher than the Indian flag has gone viral on social media. Social media users have added a communal spin to the incident and claimed that it happened in LuLu Mall in Kochi, Kerala.

On X (formerly Twitter), a user named @Incognito_qfs, shared the picture and linked it to the religious demography of Kerala. They wrote, “This picture is from Lulu Mall in Kochi, Kerala. As you can see, Pakistani Flag is bigger and placed higher than our Tiranga violating Flag Code of India. Fun Fact: As per the report prepared by economics and statistics department in 2015, out of the total 5,16,013 live births in Kerala state, 42.87% belong to Hindu community, 41.45% to Muslim community and 15.42% to Christian community.” The tweet received over 5,55,000 views, 1,884 views and 881 retweets. (Archive)

Political analyst Pradeep Bhandari also shared the picture with the caption, “This picture is from Lulu Mall in Kerala. Pakistan’s flag was displayed & placed above the tricolour to celebrate the ongoing cricket World Cup. This is a breach of the flag code, concerned authorities should take note.” The tweet received over 1.1 million views, 2,37,000 likes and 1,17,000 retweets. He later deleted the tweet. (Archive)

Asianet Suvarna News also tweeted the image with the caption, “Pakistan flag bigger than Indian flag in Lulu Mall, increased outrage!” The tweet received over 3,71,000 views and 556 likes. (Archive)

Fact Check

Alt News reached out to the authorities of LuLu Mall, Kochi, who explained that in light of the ICC World Cup, LuLu Mall had displayed flags of countries participating in the World Cup. They stated, “Within the mall’s atrium, flags from various countries were suspended from the ceiling at the same level. When viewed from an aerial perspective or from specific angles, it may appear that flags on certain sides seem larger. However, when observed from below, it becomes evident that all flags are of equal size. Regrettably, there has been a misleading narrative circulating on social media, falsely claiming that the Pakistan flag is larger than the Indian flag. It is essential to recognize that this optical illusion occurs naturally when viewing flags from specific angles. Thus, any claims regarding the size of Pakistan’s flag in comparison to others are entirely inaccurate and misleading.”

The authorities of LuLu Mall, Kochi also added that they were planning legal action against individuals for spreading misleading information.

Pictures of the displayed flags taken from the ground level portray that all the flags are of equal size and placed on the same level. This can be seen below:

However, the flags appear to be different in size when viewed from different angles.

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According to a report in The Telegraph, the proliferation of the false claim that the Pakistan flag was given more prominence than the Indian Tricolour ‘led the mall’s marketing manager, Athira Nampiathiri, to step down although the company claimed she had not been asked to do so.”

Nampiathiri posted the following message on her LinkedIn page on October 12: “After dedicating a whole decade to a company with an unwavering passion, it pains me to find myself not working one day, all because of baseless falsehoods and social media sensationalism. What transpired as a simple gesture of support for sportsmanship, using flags as decor, morphed into a nightmarish distortion that none of us could have fathomed. We are staunch, proud Indians, deeply committed to our companies with unparalleled devotion. However, the reckless chatter and unverified reports swirling on social media carry the potential to devastate one’s integrity and livelihood.”

Nampiathiri further added that, “Just as a company values its reputation and integrity, as a citizen of this nation, I hold a profound love for my country and am willing to go to great lengths to uphold its honor. Denouncing this as false news or a post like this will not restore my image, integrity, or the years of dedication and achievements I poured into my work. I implore you all , to please refrain from propagating hatred and abstain from engaging in activities that could ruin the careers and lives of individuals. Let us stand together to champion truth and fairness in this digital age. My loss is a loss but let no one get affected because of this hate. I hope this message will also go as viral as the other messages gets spread which ruins lives !”

However, a day after Nampiathiri’s LinkedIn post, she was invited to rejoin the LuLu Group. She stated in her LinkedIn page that, “Thank you, everyone, for your unwavering support. I am deeply honored by the unity we demonstrated in combating the spread of false information on social media. As a direct result of our collective efforts, I have been invited to rejoin at the earliest with Lulu Group. As mentioned in my previous post as well, It’s important for all of us to remember that this doesn’t just impact individuals; it also significantly affects the companies as well. I extend my heartfelt gratitude to each one of you who joined the fight against misinformation and false narratives. Together, we can leverage the power of the digital platform to promote knowledge, awareness, kindness, and spread support.”

To sum up, the picture of various national flags inside LuLu Mall in Kochi, Kerala, is being shared with the false claim that the Pakistani flag was bigger in size and placed higher than the Indian flag. However, our fact-check revealed that the flags were displayed in the light of the ICC World Cup and that all the flags were of equal size and were placed at the same level.

Abira Das is an intern at Alt News.

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