A viral image of a Dassault Mirage 2000 fighter jet is being shared with the claim that the Indian Air Force has used symbols to mock Pakistan’s claim that only “4 trees and one crow” were the casualties in the Balakot airstrike that happened in February 2019.
However, we found that the viral image is a photoshopped and the original image does not show any such symbols on the said fighter jet.
An area has been highlighted in the viral image to show four trees and a text apparently mentioning ‘Balakot strike.’
The image is being shared with the claim: “Admire the IAF sense of humour. They are trolling the Pakis for admitting that only 4 trees and one crow were the casualties in the Balakot Strike!”
The image found its way on Facebook with the same claim.
The Quint received a query on the claim being made in the image on its WhatsApp tipline as well.
WHAT WE FOUND OUT
We did a reverse image search and the results directed us to links on Dassault Mirage fighter jet. With relevant keyword searches, we came across a website called zone5aviation that had a similar image and identified the aircraft as Dassault Mirage 2000H/TH.
On comparing the image uploaded on the website ‘zone5aviation’ and the viral image, we found that the former did not carry the said symbols, as claimed on social media.
Also, the original image did not carry any text written on the aircraft in the area highlighted in the viral image.
We then got in touch with aerospace and defence journalist Angad Singh, who runs this website, and he told us that the image is circulation is “fake” and that he had captured the original one in December 2012 in Gwalior.
The description along the image reads: “In late 2012, I spent a few days at Maharajpur Air Force Station in Gwalior, where Squadrons No 1, 7 & 9 flying Dassault Mirage 2000H/TH combat aircraft are based. The Mirage 2000 is probably the prettiest aircraft in the Subcontinent, and I was ecstatic to be able to spend time with the magnificent beasts at close quarters.”
WHAT IS THE ‘4 TREES AND ONE CROW’ REFERENCE?
A ground report by Reuters, that came out on 28 February 2019, cited several locals and health officials from the Balakot area as saying that there were no casualties owing to the air strike, except for one civilian who was injured.
“No one died. Only some pine trees died, they were cut down. A crow also died,” a local named Abdur Rasheed had told the news agency.
Evidently, a morphed image was circulated to falsely claim that the Indian Air Force used symbols on a fighter jet t to take a dig at Pakistanis who claimed that trees and a crow were the casualties in the Balakot airstrikes.
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