The pictures of Lord Ram on the billboards of Times Square on the occasion of Bhumi Pujan were reported widely by the media. After Bhumi Pujan, Twitter user Rajiv Malhotra, Researcher, author, speaker, who has a verified profile, shared a picture of Times Square displaying images of Lord Ram.

Archive of the Tweet can be accessed here.

Same picture appeared on Facebook.

https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=1102734923461286&set=a.487601358307982

Archive of the post can be accessed here.

Fact Check:

The images of Ram along with Ram Mandir were displayed on Times Square building on August 5, 2020. This image featuring images of Lord Ram is manufactured and NOT ORIGINAL.

Preliminary visual observation of the picture raises suspicion over its authenticity. Because one of the images on left side superimposed on the adjacent building and also one lower middle image has the tagline of “alamy stock photo.”

Billboards (1)

To check whether we can find the exact image or a template, we searched with a keyword, `Times Square bill board’s template’. We found the identical image template on the website `MakeSweet’. This website helps users to recreate images digitally.

We compared both photos and templates. We found that both are similar and photo in circulation is just a mirror version of the template.

Billboards (2)

So photo in circulation is not real and is digitally recreated.

But upon keyword search, Newsmeter came across a tweet from official news agency ANI where it posted an original picture of Times Square billboard featuring an image of Ram Mandir.

Archive of the tweet can be accessed here.

Billboards (3)

Same was reported by The New Indian Express, Washington Post, India TV, Economic Times, Times of India and others.

The New Indian Express reported that ‘Marking the Bhoomi Pujan ceremony of Ram Temple in Ayodhya, New York City saw the largest digital display of Lord Ram on Broadway. The digital display of Lord Ram is one of the most expensive digital billboards of the Hindu deity at Times Square. The display lit up at 10 am will continue till 10 pm to celebrate the laying of the temple’s foundation.’

The image of Lord Ram along with Ram Mandir was on display on the giant billboard of Times Square in New York, but the viral image is NOT the original.

So, Photo of Times square featuring images of Lord Ram is manufactured and NOT ORIGINAL.

Vamsi Krishna Pothuru

Vamsi Krishna Pothuru completed his Masters in Communication from The University of Hyderabad. He has interned with The New Indian Express and Kriti Social Initiatives. With the specialization of media research in masters, he submitted his thesis on the topic of "Fact-checking Initiatives and their response to Fake News in India." He believes that fact-checkers have a huge role to play in the fight against fake news which is a dangerous undercurrent in social media reinforcing hatred and false perceptions. Along with fact-checking, he is also interested in writing about environmental issues and human interest stories.

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