An image of a group of girls standing in a queue and wearing lungi has surfaced on the Internet. Social media users are sharing the picture with the claim that the girls in it are the students of a college in Kerala and that they have donned lungi to mark a protest against the ban on jeans.
However, as opposed to the claims, the girls in the image are fans of Mahesh Babu and they have copied the actor's lungi avatar to show their love and support towards him.
A Twitter user by the name Shahid Siddiqui posted the image claiming that Kerala girls went to the college in lungi after the authorities disallowed them to wear jeans.
"College in Kerala banned jeans, girls came in lungis, college still thinking what to do next," the caption read. Many people fell for the claim as the post went viral within hours garnering more than 2,500 likes and over 400 retweets.
Furthermore, several social media users even suggested that the picture was taken as part of a dance competition in a women's college in Kerala.
On investigating the claims related to the image, we at International Business Times, India, found that it actually dates back to 2015. A Google reverse image search revealed that the image had first gone viral when Mahesh Babu's Siramanthudu had released, in which he surprised his fans with the lungi-clad look.
The movie did well internationally and reports had it that Indian-origin girls settled in the US posed in lungi to surprise their beloved actor. The 2015 film co-starred Shruti Hasan.
While scores of social media users fell for the misleading claim made by Shahid Siddiqui's post, there were some who shared the truth behind it. "The photo of lungi girls had gone viral in August 2015, when Mahesh Babu's Srimanthudu had released. Reportedly, a group of Mahesh Babu fans from the US were mimicking his lungi avatar, according to a report in Mid-Day," shared one of the users in the comment section.
Notably, the image has resurfaced multiple times over the last few years with the same 'protest against bans on jeans' claim, which has been proven to be false.