After two months of escalation on the borders with Ukraine, Russia announced a special military operation in the country on February 24. Amidst the death and displacement caused by the invasion, pictures of langars set up to help the distressed have been shared online.

Some users claimed that the ISKON temple has opened its door for the distressed. The accompanying picture shows devotees feeding people.

The picture is also viral on Facebook.

Fact-check

Alt News found that both images are old and unrelated to the Sikh community and ISKCON volunteers helping people amid Russia’s ongoing assault on Ukraine. We will debunk the images one by one.

First image

For the first image of the langar, we performed a keyword search on Twitter based on what was written on the food truck – ‘Guru Nanak’s Langar’. This led us to a tweet from 2016 that carried the same photo.

We also came across a tweet from 2016 that suggested that the image could be from Canada.

The above photo shows a poster of the langar service with a link to the Facebook page of ‘SEWA Society’. We looked up Sikh SEWA society on Facebook and found that they have released a statement clarifying that the photo in circulation is from 2016 and they do not provide any services outside of Canada.

It has recently been brought to the boards attention that a picture of Sikh Sewa Society’s mobile kitchen has been…

Posted by Sewa Meals for Humanity – Sikh Sewa Society on Sunday, 27 February 2022

While this image is old, it is noteworthy that the Sikh community has reportedly organised “langar on train” for students travelling to the Polish border from Ukraine.

Second image

As for the image of ISCKON devotees, we performed a Google reverse image search on the photo and came across a blog post from 2019 that carried the same image. By opening the image in a new tab, we noticed that the URL carries the original upload year of the photo – 2015.

We then checked for the EXIF data of the image and as per the EXIF data, it was clicked on March 29, 2015 by Jivana Wilhoit.

We also came across a tweet thread by Radharamn Das, Vice President and Spokesperson of ISKCON, where he announced that the doors of ISKCON temples in Ukraine are open for those in distress. The thread contained images, including the one viral, of ISCKON volunteers serving food.

Das made another tweet saying that ISKCON volunteers had served meals to those in need during the Chechnya war as well.

The other photo in his tweet can be found on ISKCON’s website and was uploaded in 2015.

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It is possible that Das’s tweet announcing that ISCKON temples are open for distressed people in Ukraine was misunderstood and the photo he shared was believed to be recent.

However, both the Sikh community and ISKCON have reportedly stepped up to serve people in Ukraine.

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About the Author

Kalim is a journalist with a keen interest in tech, misinformation, culture, etc