A photo of Vinay Mohan Kwatra, India’s Foreign Secretary and former Indian Ambassador to Nepal, has gone viral on social media. The photo, which shows Kwatra speaking to Nepali politicians, was shared out of context and is nearly a year old.
Sujita Shakya, a member of the central committee of the opposition Communist Party of Nepal (UML) posted the photo with the following status on Facebook on March 3, 2023:
The photo speaks for itself. Why was the alliance restructured? What happened to the quarantine check on poisonous vegetables imported from India? Why do you support the presidential candidate of the [Nepali Congress] and other political parties? When the UML acts as a shield to protect the people and the nation from all of this, the anti-people [forces] band together to lay siege to them.
The photo was also Tweeted by Twitter user @Dr_Gothe who claimed “the eight-party alliance formed after Indian Foreign Secretary Kwatra lectured [the top politicians] would ditch the country soon.” The tweet read: “Let’s see what happens next.”
Nepal Check found that the photo was cropped and shared out of context, and that Kwatra’s visit to Nepal in mid-February 2023 was unrelated to the claims made in the misleading posts.
Indian Foreign Secretary Kwatra served as the Indian ambassador in Nepal until April 2022. Following his assignment in Nepal, he was appointed India’s foreign secretary. Kwatra visited Nepal for three days in mid-February, 2023.
During his recent visit to Nepal, Kwatra held talks with his Nepali counterpart and met with President Bidhya Bhandari, Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, and other political leaders. The meetings reportedly included discussions about the ruling alliance and the upcoming presidential election.
The ruling alliance of the CPN-UML and the Maoists fell apart over disagreements over Maoist support for the presidential candidate. The Maoists have endorsed Ram Chandra Paudel, a senior Nepali Congress leader, while the UML has nominated former Speaker Subash Chandra Nembang as its candidate. In this context, a photo of Indian Foreign Secretary Kwatra addressing a gathering that included Nepali politicians has gone viral on social media.
Nepal Check found out the truth behind the photo after googling keywords such as “Indian ambassador Kwatra” and “farewell program”.
The photo was taken during Kwatra’s farewell program before his term as Indian ambassador to Nepal ended in April 2022. The misleading posts accompanying the photo falsely claim that Kwatra’s visit to Nepal in February 2023 was related to the issues raised in the posts.
Kwatra organized a farewell program at the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu on April 12, 2022, before returning home after his stint as Indian ambassador in Nepal.
Former Prime Ministers Sher Bahadur Deuba, Madhav Kumar Nepal, and Pushpa Kamal Dahal, as well as former Speaker Subash Chandra Nembang and other leaders, attended the farewell ceremony, according to a news report published in Nepal Press.
However, Nembang, the UML presidential candidate, was cropped out of the viral photo on social media.
Nepal Check concludes that the photo was cropped and shared out of context and that Kwatra’s February 2023 visit to Nepal was unrelated to the claims made in the misleading posts.
|Claim||Claimed by||Nepal Check Verdict|
|Photo shows Indian foreign secretary lecturing Nepali politicians||Social media user||Misleading|
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