Amid a sharp rise in the number of COVID-19 cases in Jammu and Kashmir over the last few days, an image has now surfaced on the Internet that could spell trouble for both the authorities as well as the locals of the union territory.
The image, featuring a large group of migrant labourers trying to board a bus, has been linked to the ongoing novel coronavirus crisis. Several social media users have shared the picture claiming that a sea of migrant workers arrived in the valley and that no proper precautionary measures were put in place for the incoming labourers.
The netizens lambasted the J&K administration citing the flouting of social distancing guidelines and no arrangements of quarantine facilities for the workers.
Furthermore, many also used the image to propagate the agenda that New Delhi is sending outstation labourers to spread COVID-19 in Jammu and Kashmir.
"It seems the government of J&K has written an unofficial death warrant for the people of both regions. Is this Advisor Baseer Khan's (COVID-19 in-charge) idea of dealing with the pandemic or one of many factions within the bureaucracy," wrote one Twitter user.
Fact-checking the claim
As it turns out, the image that is doing the rounds on Twitter was clicked by a photojournalist named Ashish Sharma in 2019 and has no connection with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic whatsoever.
The picture was taken shortly after the scrapping of Article 370 by the Centre in August last year. It depicts migrant labourers leaving the Kashmir valley after the government abrogated its special status.
When International Business Times, India, reached out to Ashish, he revealed that the picture is being shared in the wrong context which is completely misleading.
"It's a menace when old pictures are dug up and used for current news which has no relevance except that it stirs panic and fear. So many of my Kashmir photos have been used like this to create hatred and panic when in actuality the message from the pictures is about love, empathy and humanity," Ashish told IBT, India.
Meanwhile, making amends for his earlier tweet, a social media user posted a clarification regarding the picture. "The image, from a few reliable accounts, is from last year. I will take it off," the user wrote.
Thus, the claim that shows migrant labourers arriving in the union territory during the COVID-19 pandemic is false.