India defeated Pakistan in the ICC Men’s T20 Cricket World Cup on October 23 by four wickets thanks largely to a brilliant knock by Virat Kohli. Expectedly, he dominated the headlines after the match. Against this backdrop, a picture of a group of young men posing with the Pakistani flag along with a green banner is making the rounds on social media. The banner reads, “We don’t want Kashmir, give us Virat Kohli.”
Retired Lieutenant-General Vinod Bhatia tweeted this picture and wrote, “With this habit of asking for everything, you won’t get anything.” (Archived link)
BJP supporter and writer Bhaavna Arora also tweeted the image and wrote, “Kashmir is ours. Kohli is ours as well.” (Archived link)
Jammu Kashmir Student Welfare Forum president Kamran Ali Mir also tweeted the photo. (Archived link)
The image got a lot of traction across social media platforms.
Alt News performed a reverse image search of the viral image. This led us to a 2016 India Today article containing two images that showed the banner. According to the report, in 2016, some Kashmiri youths raised slogans in support of Pakistan holding the country’s flag. Along with this, they also raised Azadi slogans in support of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani and separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani.
It is worth noting that as opposed to the viral image, the banner seen with the flag of Pakistan did not contain anything about Virat Kohli. Rather, it read, “We want Azaadi (freedom).” This can be seen more clearly in the side-by-side comparison of both the pictures given below.
To sum it up, a number of social media users, including the country’s retired lieutenant-general, falsely shared a morphed picture as real. The real banner in the source image states ‘We want Azaadi’, which was edited to read ‘We don’t want Kashmir, give us Virat Kohli’.
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