This photo has been doctored to include an image of India's first law minister on a UK bus

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An image that purports to show a portrait of Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar, India’s first law minister, and his wife displayed on the side of a bus has been shared thousands of times in multiple posts on Facebook and Twitter. The posts claim the image shows the United States honouring Dr. Ambedkar for his writings that, they claim, helped establish the US economic system. The claim is false; the image has been doctored to superimpose the portrait of the Ambedkars on another photo of a bus in the United Kingdom.

The image was published on Facebook here on September 19, 2020. The post has been shared more than 9,400 times.

Screenshot of misleading Facebook post

The post’s Hindi-language caption translates to English as: “Babasaheb’s photo is displayed on the city bus on the street of Columbia (America). This is the true honour. America still considers Babasaheb as its ideal because the country’s economic system is based on the book Babasaheb wrote for his doctoral thesis during the British period. Just think what would have been to the people of the lower castes if he had accepted British citizenship on the request of the UK Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald."

Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar, who is respectfully called Babasaheb by his followers, is the primary author of the Indian constitution and served as India’s first Minister of Law and Justice after independence. Born a Dalit, the lowest social classification in the Hindu caste system, Ambedkar is also revered as a civil rights leader and a social reformer.

Ramsay MacDonald was a two-time British prime minister between 1924 to 1935.

The image was also shared alongside a similar claim on Facebook here, here, here and here; and on Twitter here, here, here and here.

The claim, however, is false.

A reverse image search on Google found the image has been digitally manipulated. The original photo of the bus, which does not feature the portrait of the Ambedkars, in fact shows a tourism bus in the UK city of Bath. 

The photo was published in July 2008 here on Wikimedia Commons, a free-use database of images and other online content. Text that reads “City sightseeing Bath” can be seen on the side of the bus. The exact location where the photo was taken in Bath can be seen on Google Maps here.

Below is a screenshot comparison of the image in the misleading post (L) and the 2008 photo published on Wikimedia (R):

Image comparing screenshot

A further online keyword search found the original photo of Ambedkar and his wife was published in black-and-white in past reports about Ambedkar; for example in Indian magazine Outlook here and on news website Forward Press here.

Below is a screenshot comparison of the photo of the couple in the misleading posts (L) and the photo published by Forward Press (R):

Image comparing screenshot