Amid eased restrictions following the second wave of the coronavirus, photos of massive crowds thronging the streets of Manali, a popular tourist spot in Himachal Pradesh, have gone viral on social media. Siddharth Bakaria, president of tourism company Sahyog Foundation, tweeted a picture as a recent scene from Manali. (Archive link)
Now we shouldn’t blame politicians for there political rallies pic.twitter.com/uQp3dDCb9H
— Siddharth Bakaria Himachal🇮🇳 (@Sidbakaria) July 4, 2021
IPS officer Arun Bothra tweeted a similar photo, which garnered close to 1,000 retweets as of this writing. (Archive link)
हर शाख़ पे उल्लू बैठा है अंजाम-ए-गुलिस्ताँ क्या होगा।
Manali, Himachal Pradesh. pic.twitter.com/eoM6mOulWp
— Arun Bothra 🇮🇳 (@arunbothra) July 5, 2021
Twitter user Amarpreet Singh shared the image with a similar claim. (Archive link)
— Amarpreet Singh (@amarpreet_ka) July 4, 2021
We performed a reverse image search and found a higher-quality version of the viral image on a few social media posts. A reverse image search of this version led us to a Facebook post dated January 24 of this year, where it is captioned as Manali’s Mall Road and attributed to ‘Amigosblink’.
Alt News located Amingosblink’s January 23, 2021 post containing the image using a keyword search on Facebook.
We contacted the Facebook page for more information about the picture. Ajay Kumar, the administrator running this page, stated that he had taken the snapshot on December 31, 2020. He has also sent Alt News a Facebook Live from the same day.
new year eve Manali , 31st December,2020
Posted by Amigosblink on Monday, July 5, 2021
Furthermore, the page clarified that the photo is old.
Following the second wave of COVID-19 in India, crowds have been seen at several tourist places. Hundreds of people have also come to visit Manali in Himachal Pradesh.
— ANI (@ANI) July 5, 2021
A photo of Manali’s Mall Road taken on December 31, 2020, was falsely circulated on social media as recent. But Indian tourists have indeed been seen flouting COVID-19 norms following the second wave of COVID-19.