This image was digitally created using two unrelated photos

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An image that appears to show a group of soldiers waving an Indian flag below Mount Kailash, a holy peak in Tibet, has been shared in multiple Facebook and Twitter posts that claim the Indian army has taken a swathe of the mountain range that was previously under China’s control. The claim is false: the image is digitally created using an unrelated photo of Indian soldiers and a generic photo of Mount Kailash.

The image was published on Facebook here on September 15, 2020.

Screenshot of misleading Facebook post

The post’s Hindi-language caption translates to English as: “Kailash Mansarovar has become very close to us now. The Indian Army has taken into control about 60–70 kms of the Kailash mountain range on which basis China has been threatening to prevent pilgrimage to Kailash Mansarovar. This photo was taken soon after those peaks of the Kailash mountain range were captured. The Indian soldiers shouted ‘har-har mahadev’ while taking control of those peaks. Hail India.”

Kailash Mansarovar is a lake in the Kailash Mountain range, which runs through China's Tibet region.

Mount Kailash is revered by Hindus and is considered the residence of the deities Lord Shiva and his wife Goddess Parvati. The site receives a large number of devotees from India who visit Kailash Mansarovar during an annual pilgrimage organised by the governments of India and China.

“Har Har Mahadev” is a Hindu religious slogan honoring Lord Shiva.

The image was also shared alongside the same claim on Facebook here, here, here and here; and on Twitter here, here, here and here.

However, the claim is false.

A reverse image search on Google found that image has been digitally created. The original photo of soldiers waving the Indian flag in fact shows the troops celebrating in a different mountain range.

The photo was published in past media reports related to Indian military affairs here, here and here. It is credited to the Indian news agency ANI.

Below is a screenshot comparison of the image published in the misleading post (L) and the originally photo published in a news report in March 2020 (R):

Image comparing screenshot

A further search found another photo of the same group of soldiers waving the flag published here in a report about troops celebrating Republic Day along India’s de-facto border with Pakistan in Kashmir in January 2020.

Meanwhile, the generic photo of Mount Kailash used in the background was published in May 2019 here on a popular travel Instagram account. The photo was published with credit to the Instagram user on Facebook here and here

Below is a screenshot comparison of the image in the misleading post (L) and the original Mount Kailash photo on Instagram (R):

Image comparing screenshot