Russian President Vladimir Putin has launched a military operation against Ukraine, resulting in a full-fledged invasion. According to some reports, more than 10,000 people were displaced after the first day of the attack. Due to the increasing tension, the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine is deepening. Meanwhile, some pictures are doing rounds on social media in the name of the ISKCON temple, claiming relief work during the Russia-Ukraine conflict. In the viral pictures, people can be seen standing in the queue while the volunteers serve food.
Radharamn Das, Vice President and Spokesperson ISKCON, Kolkata, shared these images and wrote, ISKCON has over 54 temples in Ukraine & our devotees & temples r committed to serve those in distress. Our doors r open for service. Hare Krishna."
Tathagata Roy, former Governor of Meghalaya, shared this image and wrote, "ISKCON serving war-torn Ukraine through their temples. What the devotion of an inspired man can do! Sreela A C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada,a tiny retailer in Kolkata's then-Harrison Road set forth to preach the name of Krsna all over the world."
The Right Angle, a right-wing page, shared this image on Facebook with the same claim. The post has got 5.1k+ likes and 1k shares.
Viral images show humanitarian aid provided by ISKCON temple in Ukraine amid the Russia-Ukraine war.
The Logical Indian Fact Check team verified the claim and found it to be misleading. The viral images are not related to the ongoing crisis.
To know the truth of the viral image, we did a google reverse image search and found this image on the Wikipedia page of Religion in Russia. We also found this image on a Wikipedia page of Food for Life Global. Food for Life Global is a non-profit vegan food relief organization founded in 1995 and has been associated with ISKCON since 1974. According to it, the image was uploaded in 2009. The image's caption reads, "ISKCON Food for Life in Russia: Hare Krishna devotees distributing free vegetarian meals."
On searching more, we also find this image on the official website of ISKCON. The photo is of the relief work that was held in Chechnya. Chechnya is a constituent republic of Russia situated in the North Caucasus in Eastern Europe, close to the Caspian Sea. However, no information was mentioned on the website about when this picture was taken, and it clearly means that the viral image is not from Ukraine.
We did a google reverse image search and found this image in several articles dated back to 2019. ISKCON Desire Tree published an article on their website on 03 June 2019 in which the viral image can be seen.
We searched the Exif data of the image and found that it was taken on 29 March 2015.
We also looked for media reports of ISKCON temple providing humanitarian aid in Ukraine amid war. We found a piece of Decan Herald in which Kyiv ISKCON temple and other temples of ISKCON across Ukraine opened their gates for the needy people and are serving them with food and shelter.
Though it is true that ISKCON temples across Ukraine is providing humanitarian aid but it is clear from our investigation that the viral images are not recent, the first image was taken in 2009. We found the second image is available on the internet since 2015. Also, the images are related to the food distribution program organized by ISKCON temple and Food for Life Global. It has nothing to do with the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war.
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