A collage of two pictures of ace tennis player Sania Mirza is being shared widely on social media, dragging her into intolerance debate. The first picture shows Sania wearing a ripped jeans and a T-shirt. In the second picture, she can be seen in an overcoat along with a dupatta, and a hijab covering her head. Sania is married to Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Malik.
The archived version of the post can be seen here.
India Today Fact Check found that Sania’s picture in hijab is an old photograph and it is not from Pakistan. This picture is about 13 years old and was clicked in Saudi Arabia.
The first photo was clicked in Hyderabad in 2016 during the launch of a product by the company she was endorsing.
Among many, Facebook users such as Damaruga and Dhanunjaya Rao Ganapatula have shared the post in different languages more than 1,600 times at the time of writing the story.
The share count showing post being shared more than 1,600 times
Believing it to be true, netizens have been flooding social media with critical comments on Sania.
When we reverse-searched the photo of Sania in hijab, we found the original image in the picture story by Rediff News which dates back to November 9, 2006. She can be seen with her mother.
According to Rediff, this picture was sent by a reader, Suhail Ahmed Sajjad, who claimed that it was taken during Sania’s visit for Umrah in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.
We also found a news article related to Sania’s Mecca visit on local news website ARAB NEWS. The article said Sania was in Saudi Arabia with her family in May 2006.
India Today established that the collage is misleading. The photo of Sania in hijab is not from Pakistan but it is an old photo clicked in Saudi Arabia in 2006.