One week after the horrific terrorist attack on a CRPF convoy at Pulwama in Jammu and Kashmir, today Rahul Gandhi posted a tweet claiming that PM Narendra Modi was participating in a photo shoot 3 hours after the attack. The Congress president also posted photos of Modi’s visit to Corbett National park on 14th February, and one of the photos shows Modi getting photographed by a cameraman.
पुलवामा में 40 जवानों की शहादत की खबर के तीन घंटे बाद भी ‘प्राइम टाइम मिनिस्टर’ फिल्म शूटिंग करते रहे।
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) February 22, 2019
The same allegation was raised by Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala also, who had claimed yesterday that while the terror attack happened at 3:10 PM on 14th February, Narendra Modi was enjoying a boat ride with a camera crew of Discovery channel. After that, the allegation has been repeated by pro-congress users on social media, including some prominent journalists.
But was Modi actually doing a photo shoot three hours after the Pulwama attack as claimed by Rahul Gandhi? Let’s examine the veracity of the claim.
The terror took place at around 3:10 PM, which means Modi should be getting photographed after 6 PM. If we look at the photo of Modi getting photographed, we can see that it is daytime, as the blue sunny sky can be seen in the background. But the time of sunset at the Jim Corbett National park was 6:02 PM on February 14, as per the time and date website. This means the area should have been dark if it was 3 hours after the attack. But as clearly Modi was there before sunset, it was not 3 hours after the attack.
So, when did actually Modi arrive at the national park? The prime minister was scheduled to address a rally in Rudrapur in Uttarakhand at 3 PM on 14th February. For that, he had arrived at Dehradun’s Jolly Grant airport on schedule at about 7 am, from where he was supposed to travel ahead by helicopter. But due to bad weather, the helicopter could not take off, so Modi had waited there for about three hours. His chopper took off at 11:15 AM for Kalagarh, and from there went to Dhikala zone of the Corbett Tiger Reserve by road. He had reached the Tiger reserve at around 12 noon and attended a meeting of Global Tiger Reserve. After the meeting, he crossed the Ramganga river on a boat to reach the Dhikala zone of the forest at around 1 PM, because shortly after that his arrival was reported by media.
As per media reports, Modi spent only about 30 minutes in the forest area, from where he went to Khinanauli forest rest house. Therefore, the PM had completed his forest visit almost an hour before the attack in Pulwama, during which time some photographers took few snaps of him. At the guest house, he discussed tiger conservation efforts with the officials and later addressed the rally in Rudrapur by phone as the weather did not improve. The speech was carried live by DD News, and from Youtube metadata analysis of the live video, it can be seen that the telecast of the speech started at 5:17 PM. This means, 2 hours after the attack, Modi was addressing the rally by phone, so as to not disappoint the thousands of people who were waiting there for 5-6 hours to hear him, and was not doing a photo shoot.
The photographs of Modi’s visit to the Corbett National part was already published by media around 2 PM, which means the photos were actually taken before 2 PM. And as Modi spent only about half an hour in the forest area, this means he had already returned from his forest visit before verified information about the attack may have reached him. Therefore, the allegation that PM Modi was doing a photo shoot in the forest after the Pulwama attack is a lie, which adds to the never-ending list of lies being propagated by Rahul Gandhi.