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"Misleading" satellite images being shared on Balakot surgical strike on Jaish camp

By Dr Vinay Kate*
With every passing day more questions are being raised about the surgical strike India did in Balakot as a response to Pulwama attacks. So far the Indian media has claimed mass casulaty of 300+ terrorists of Jaish-e-Mohammad in this surgical strike, but there is hardly any report from foreign media about the same.
Now, two links for satellite images are being circulated in social media that shows alleged Jaish-e-Mohammad camp before and after surgical strike.
The links are as follows:
A Twitter handle named @IndianInterest has compared both these images and tried to portray the so-called damage to the alleged Jaish camp. But, if we compare both the satellite images side by side with a little bigger canvas covering adjacent areas of the alleged strike site, we can see some striking things as follows:
  • Label 1: This building has got vanished in thin air after the alleged strike at least a kilometer away from it. Surprising! isn't it?
  • Label 2: The red colored roof/shed in front of the labelled house has disappeared. Just like that?
  • Label 3: The roof of the building few kilometers away was painted with red color and Pakistani flag on it before strike, but it lost all its color in a single day.
  • Label 4: The fruit garden has been completely mowed down and the land is ploughed after the strikes.
  • Label 5: Few buildings that are seen in this cluster again a kilometer away from alleged strike site have lost their roof.
Are you wondering about how this happened? Actually, the link that is being shared as "post-strike" satellite image is actually older one; and link that is being shared as "pre-strike" image on Google maps (satellite mode) is the latest one. So there is no strike that has happened on this building, but the old images of this building during its construction time are being shown as a damaged site.
And this further gets validated when we zoom the image in link being shared as "post-strike". In this image we can clearly see the depots of sand and construction material in the vicinity of the building. The shadows of the pillars and window spaces are clearly seen and the roof is missing as it was yet to be constructed. Google Earth Pro also confirms this when we see the present and older images of this building.
In short, what we are being served in social media is a complete misleading information. We should not believe everything we see on social media.
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*Source: Author's Facebook timeline 

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