This image has been doctored from a photo mocking India's fuel price hike

Copyright AFP 2017-2022. All rights reserved.

Facebook posts shared thousands of times purport to show a picture of a motorcyclist at a petrol station expressing gratitude to Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. The image has been doctored. The original photo shows the motorcyclist making an apparently sarcastic gesture of thanks to India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi after a fuel price hike.

The image was shared in this Facebook post published on October 23 and shared more than 5,000 times.

The caption reads: "Thank you, sir".

Screenshot of the Facebook post captured on October 30, 2021

The same image was shared in similar posts here and here.

The posts surfaced after Lanka Indian Oil Corporation hiked fuel prices on October 21. 

Some social media users appeared to believe the photo was genuine.

One user commented: "Those hands you bring together to worship these fools, bring them together to worship a stray dog instead."

Another wrote: "If you are still a fan of Rajapaksa, please do yourself a favour and do a DNA test, you cow."

However, the image has been doctored.

The original photo shows India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi, not Rajapaksa.

A reverse image search of the photo on Google found this article published on July 20 by Indian news website Gulte headlined, "#ThankYouModiJIChallenge: A Satirical Protest Against Petrol Prices".

Below is a screenshot comparison of the doctored image (left) and the original image (right).

Screenshot comparison of the misleading posts' picture (L) and the image on Gulte (R)

The original image was taken for a satirical photo challenge to protest a fuel price hike, Gulte reported.

"In an unprecedented and sarcastic protest, the vexed up netizens commenced the #ThankYouModiJiChallenge after the consistent petrol price hike in the country," the article reads.

The photo was also featured alongside similar photos posted as part of the #ThankYouModiJiChallenge.