On the eve of India's 74th Independence Day, an image of the tricolour flying atop the clock tower in Srinagar's Lal Chowk surfaced on the Internet, sending Indian netizens into a frenzy.
The picture went viral within minutes as social media users excitedly circulated it across different online platforms including Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp, crediting Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the apparent feat.
"Feeling so proud and happy seeing our national flag hoisted with full swing at Lal Chowk in Srinagar," wrote one Twitter user, while another said, "This Srinagar's Lal Chowk Tower symbolised hatred for 72 years. And today, our national flag is flying high. Credit goes to PM Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah."
Not just common people, several members of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) including Kapil Mishra and Narendra Sawaikar too fell for the purported image and shared it with pride.
"Tiranga at Lal Chowk," Mishra captioned the image whereas Sawaikar wrote, "This is Lal chowk. A proud moment that every Indian was waiting for and some had to sacrifice their lives."
Fact-Checking the image
We at IBTimes (India) were able to verify that an old picture of Srinagar's Lal Chowk has been photoshopped with the Indian flag at the clock tower, also referred to as Jammu and Kashmir's Times Square.
We arrived at the conclusion as we compared the viral image with one of the latest pictures of the Lal Chowk and found striking dissimilarities. The major point of distinction between the present-day Lal Chowk and the one in the image is the Shri Sanatan Dharm Partap Sabha building beside the clock tower.
The building, which now houses a Yatri Niwas, dons a completely new look. Furthermore, several other structures seen in the image have also undergone major changes as they were renovated after getting damaged in a fire incident triggered by a clash between militants and security forces in 1993.
Below is the latest picture of Srinagar's Lal Chowk:
Thus, it can be concluded that the Internet fell prey to mischief ahead of the Independence Day because the image depicting the tricolour on the top of the clock tower in Srinagar's Lal Chowk is edited.