No, IAF pilot Abhinandan isn’t on the signboard of a UK café
If you spend a decent amount of time on social media, chances are you’ve come across several posts showing pictures of Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman on the signboard of a café in the UK. Twitter and Facebook are flooded with such posts, mostly with two versions: “Craze of wing commander #Abhinandan in the UK” and “Modi fan in UK updated his coffee shop with the pic of Wing Commander #Abhinandan”. The images, however, are fake. Chaiiwala, the café featured in the images, confirmed to Hindustan Times that the pictures are photoshopped.
Here’s one example of the post shared on Facebook.
Another version shared in a group as received over 13,000 reactions and more than 1,700 shares.
A search on Twitter yields similar results:
The coffee shop, however, confirmed to Hindustan Times that the pictures are fake.
“Those pictures are photoshopped and not on our outlet. Fake news I’m afraid,” a spokesperson for the café said via email.
A reverse image search on Google also confirms that the original image was shared online sometime around May 2018.
If you look closely at the image above, you can clearly see three people in the store. The same people also appear in the photoshopped picture that’s now viral.
The viral posts have resulted in several people calling the cafe about the signboard.
“We have had over 1000 calls from across the globe,” the spokesperson said.
IAF pilot Abhinandan Varthaman’s MiG 21 was shot after bringing down a Pakistani F-16 fighter during a dogfight to repel a Pakistani attack on February 27 over the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir. The 35-year-old IAF pilot, spent nearly 60 hours in Pakistani custody. He was released on March 1.