Twitter user Irmak Idoya tweeted two images — a fighter plane on fire and people surrounding debris — and wrote, “Indian airforce had crossed the border to conduct airstrike on the Nepal territories today. India conducted an airstrike in Kot Kharak Singh Pernawan near India Nepal border. In responding, we’ve shot down Indian jet & two Indian pilots killed.” This has been retweeted over 3,000 times (archived link).

The viral images have been shared on Facebook and Twitter by multiple users including Pakistan-based Facebook pages Think For Pakistan, President ISF Malakand officiall and numerous Pakistani social media users.

Fact-check

Alt News performed a keyword search and found that no media articles reported the alleged clash between India and Nepal. In case of cross-border skirmish, the news would be covered by every national media outlet.

We performed a reverse image search on Google to understand the context behind the images.

Image 1

This image was carried in an article by The Oregonian in 2011. As per the article, the image shows a Libyan pilot ejecting from his plunging fighter jet over Benghazi on Macrh 19, 2011. The photo is attributed to the Associated Press.

The full picture was found on Associated Press archives described as, “A pilot ejects from the cockpit of a doomed warplane after it was shot down over the outskirts of Benghazi, eastern Libya, Saturday, March 19, 2011. Explosions shook the Libyan city of Benghazi early on Saturday while a fighter jet was heard flying overhead, and residents said the eastern rebel stronghold was under attack from forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.” Photographer Anja Niedringhaus has been credited for the picture.

Image 2

This image is from February 2019. As per The Statesman, the image shows the site where Indian Air Force Mirage-2000 fighter crashed at a military airport in the Bengaluru’s eastern suburb. The photo has been credited to news agency IANS.

Therefore, the social media claim that Nepal shot down Indian Air Force fighter jets, killing two pilots, is false.

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About the Author

Archit is a graduate in English Literature from The MS University of Baroda. He also holds a post-graduation diploma in journalism from the Asian Collge of Journalism. Since then he has worked at Essel Group's English news channel WION as a trainee journalist, international NGO S3IDF as a fundraising & communications officer, and The Hindu as a reporter. At Alt News, he works as a fact-checking journalist.