Edited image of a bus shared to mock Karnataka's political leaders

By: Ankita Kulkarni
September 7 2023

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Edited image of a bus shared to mock Karnataka's political leaders

Screengrabs of claims made online (Source: Facebook, X/Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)


The Verdict False

The original image shows bus route 365 and not 420. No bus route is assigned to the latter, which is a veiled reference to the IPC section on fraud.

Claim ID 1cb70929

What is the claim?

A photo of a red bus is circulating on social media with the claim that the state government in Karnataka has introduced a direct bus route in Bengaluru (previously called Bangalore) between the state assembly building and the city prison. The image shows a BMTC (Bengaluru Metropolitan Transportation Corporation) bus displaying the number '420'—a veiled reference to section 420 of the Indian Penal Code that deals with cheating and dishonesty. According to the route displayed on the LED screen, the bus runs between Vidhana Soudha (Karnataka Legislative Assembly) and Parappana Agrahara (Bengaluru Central Jail). The words 'Politicians Special' are also written on the bus seen in the viral photo.

Sharing the photo on Facebook, one user wrote, "For the first time, a bus route in Bangalore is thoroughly planned... From Source to Destination.Route No. 420 From Vidhana Soudha To Parappana Agrahara (Central Jail). Zoom & See for Yourself! (sic)" The photo has been shared with a similar narrative insinuating that the bus has been reserved for politicians facing criminal charges on X (formerly Twitter) as well. The archive post can be found here and here. 

Screenshots of claims made online. (Source: Facebook, X/Screenshots/Modified by Logically Facts) 

However, the viral image has been digitally edited, and the claim about a direct bus service between the Karnataka Legislative Assembly and the Bengaluru Central Jail is incorrect.

What are the facts?

Logically Facts found that image has been circulating with false claims since at least 2015.

A reverse image search of the viral picture first led us to a post on Facebook by 'BMTC Volvo Bus.' This account had posted a photo (without any description) of the same bus on May 8, 2010. The registration number of the bus in the Facebook photo is 'KA-01-F-3975,'—the same number seen in the viral picture. 

The bus route number in the Facebook image is 365, not 420. The route name displayed on the LED screen on the bus is 'National Park.' Additionally, the words' Politicians Special' are not visible in the 2010 image. 

Also, the color of the text on the LED screen in the viral image is different from the color in the Facebook image and the text that is usually displayed on the screens of such BMTC buses in Bengaluru. The text font is also different from the one usually used. BMTC is a Bengaluru-based public sector entity that provides transport services in Karnataka's capital.

Comparison of the viral image and the 2010 photo. (Source: Facebook/ Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)

The original image was also included in a report published by Deccan Chronicle in October 2018. The picture has been used as a representative image in a report on the usage of Hindi language to display bus routes in BMTC buses. This image also shows the bus route number as 365, and the words' National Park' on the LED screen of the bus.

Although we could not ascertain the exact origin of the unedited image, we found that it was first used in a blog post by 'Rising Citizen' in 2009.

Furthermore, we looked into the route of BMTC bus number 365 on the website 'narasimhadatta.info, which allows one to look up BMTC bus routes. Bus route 365 refers to the Kempegowda Bus Station-Bannerghatta National Park route. We did not find any bus route assigned to the number 420.

Screenshot showing the original bus route number and its travel details. (Source: narasimhadatta.info/ Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)

Moreover, there is no direct BMTC bus service between Vidhana Soudha and Parappana Agrahara. According to 'narasimhadatta.info', there are five bus routes between these two locations, but no direct bus service links them.

A screenshot of the different routes available from Vidhana Soudha To Parappana Agrahara. (Central Jail) (Source: narasimhadatta.info/ Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)

The above evidence proves that the viral image was created by digitally adding a non-existing bus route and number to an old photo of a BMTC bus.

The verdict

A digitally edited image is circulating with the claim that the state government recently launched a direct bus service between the Karnataka Legislative Assembly and Bengaluru City Jail. No such direct bus service is available, and the viral claim is false. 

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