Old photo from Christian gathering in Nigeria falsely linked to Indian opposition leader's rally

A photo has been falsely shared in posts on Facebook and Twitter about a massive turnout at a rally organised by India's main opposition party as part of nationwide demonstrations over unemployment, inflation and religious intolerance. In fact, the image has circulated online for more than a decade in posts about a Christian event in southwestern Nigeria.

The photo showing a massive gathering of people was shared here on Facebook on October 16, 2022.

A screenshot of the misleading post taken on October 30, 2022

A Hindi-language caption superimposed above the image translates as, "Bharat Jodo Yatra in Karnataka’s Bellari. The space turned out to be small for such a huge crowd.

"The people campaigning to unite India… They go on for as far as the eye can see."

Bharat Jodo Yatra or Unite India March is an ongoing nationwide campaign started in September 2022 -- by the opposition Congress party -- under the leadership of former party president Rahul Gandhi.

Gandhi has said the aim of the pan-India march is to highlight rampant unemployment and soaring inflation, and push back against hate and intolerance in the Hindu-majority country, where Muslim minorities have often been the victims of violence.

The Economic Times newspaper reported the march passed through Ballari -- a city in the south Indian state of Karnataka -- on October 15.

There have been huge turnouts at several marches led by Gandhi in south India, according to local media reports (here and here).

The image was also shared alongside a similar claim here and here on Facebook; and here and here on Twitter.

However, the image has been shared in a false context.

Nigeria gathering

A reverse image search found the same image here in a post on the Slovakian evangelist platform milost.sk from February 2010.

The post is titled, "The Reinhard Bonnke phenomenon.

“Reinhard Bonnke celebrated 50 years of service to the Lord.”

According to the BBC, Reinhard Bonnke was a German Christian evangelist known for staging events in Africa. He died on December 7, 2019 at the age of 79.

The milost.sk post says Bonnke's evangelism left an indelible mark, especially in Africa, and gives details about the impact of campaigns organised by his Christ for all Nations (CfaN) group.

Below is a comparison of the image shared on social media (left) and the image published by milost.sk (right):

Comparison of the image shared on social media (left) and the image found on milost.sk (right)

AFP located a higher-quality version of the same image published on CfaN’s website here.

The image is labelled, "Gospel Campaign with Reinhard Bonnke in Ogbomosho Nigeria 2002”.

Ogbomosho is a city in Oyo state of southwestern Nigeria where CfaN also hosted campaigns in 2010 and 2018.

A very similar image was posted on Bonnke's official Facebook page on April 18, 2022.

A watermark on the image reads, “Evangelist Reinhard Bonnke Ogbomosho Nigeria.”

Screenshot of a similar image posted on Bonnke's official Facebook page