Doctored images shared with false claim that Indian Prime Minister Modi took a taxi to meet Pope Francis

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Two images have been shared in multiple Facebook and Twitter posts that purport to show Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi taking a taxi to meet Pope Francis during his visit to the Vatican City in October 2021. But the claim is false: the images have been doctored to show the car with taxi signages upon it.

The images which appear to show Modi coming out of a taxi were shared here on Twitter on October 31, 2021.

The Hindi-language caption reads: “Foreigners sent a taxi to take Modi during his foreign visit. What a pride, Vishwaguru (Guru of the world) is being taken in a #taxi.”

“The followers should boycott Italian pizza now. Come on, the Italians made Modi travel in a taxi.”

Screenshot of the misleading post taken on November 16, 2021

The images circulated after PM Modi visited Italy and UK in late October to attend the 16th Group of 20 summit and the World Leaders’ Summit of COP26. He also met Pope Francis in Vatican City during this five-day tour.

Comments under the post suggest some users believed the misleading images were genuine.

One of the Hindi comments reads: “Being treated according to his status.”

Screenshot of a user's comment taken on November 16, 2021

Another user wrote, “They are shameless, insulting us in front of the world.”

Screenshot of a user's comment taken on November 16, 2021

The identical images were also shared here, here and here on Facebook; and here and here on Twitter alongside a similar claim.

However, the claim is false. The images have been doctored to add taxi signages to the car that Modi was using.

A reverse image search of the purported photos found the original images posted on Twitter by Indian news agency ANI.

The original photo of the first image was posted in an October 30 tweet here by ANI. The caption of the tweet reads: “Prime Minister Narendra Modi departs from the Vatican after his meeting with Pope Francis.”

The car in the photo does not carry a taxi rooftop sign in yellow.

Screenshot of the image posted by ANI's Twitter account

The original photo of the second image was posted in another tweet by ANI here on the same day. The caption reads: “Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrives at the Vatican City to meet Pope Francis.”

The car in the photo does not have the purported taxi signage at the back.

Screenshot of the image posted by ANI's Twitter account

Below is a screenshot comparison of the doctored images (L) and the original images posted ANI (R).

Comparison of the doctored images and original photos posted by ANI

A video report here by India news channel NDTV on the arrival of PM Modi to Pope's private library in the Vatican also confirms the viral images have been doctored and Modi was not taken in a taxi to meet the Pope.

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