Hyderabad: India 24 Live News posted a series of pictures of crowds at the Puri Jagannath Rath Yatra in Odisha. It claimed that these pictures were taken recently on 12 July 2021 amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The claim that these photos were taken recently is false.
The Ratha Yatra is a Hindu festival associated with Lord Jagannath and is held at Puri, Odisha. It was scheduled to be held on 12 July this year. According to the order issued by the Supreme Court, the Yatra would be taken out only in Puri. The court had banned the Rath Yatra in the entire state of Odisha due to the increasing outbreak of the coronavirus.
Image 1: We found the same image in the gallery section of The Indian Express from 2017 (image 23). The caption read, "Artistes performing in front of chariots along the Grand Road in Puri." As this image has been on the Internet since 2017, it clearly indicates that this is not a recent image.
India TV had used the photo in an article reporting that one of the servitors of the Jagannath Temple had tested positive for COVID-19 during mandatory testing of priests and police personnel ahead of the annual Rath Yatra.
Image 3: We found the same image on the websites Dreams Time and Shutter Stock from 2011. The Dreams Time caption read, "Puri, Orissa, India - August 9, 2011: A huge gathering of devotees from different parts of India at Puri on the occasion of ratha yatra or rath yatra. Rath for Lord Jagannath pulled by people." As this image was taken during the 2011 Yatra, it clearly indicates that this is not a recent image.
Thus, it is apparent that the claim that these images were taken recently is false.