Indian climbers face action over fake photos of Mt. Everest ascent
Kathmandu, Feb 1 (efe-epa).- A Nepalese government investigative committee on Monday recommended revoking Everest climbing certificates and imposing a 10-year ban on two Indian climbers for submitting false documents of their ascent.
According to the committee, Indian athletes Narender Singh Yadav and Seema Rani Goswami, who claimed having scaled the world’s highest mountain in 2016, had retouched photos depicting them standing at the summit of the 8,848.86-meter high mountain.
“A government investigation concluded on Monday that photographs purporting to show the climbers at the top of the world’s highest mountain were fake,” Nepal’s Tourism Ministry spokesperson Taranath Adhikari told EFE.
According to Adhikari, the photoshopped images were then submitted to the Department of Tourism, the agency issuing the Everest climbing certificate, to claim the title of having climbing the world’s tallest peak.
“During the investigation, the Indian mountaineers were asked to prove their claim again. But they failed to submit the evidence,” the spokesperson said, adding that the measures recommended against the two Indian climbers had to be confirmed by the ministry.
The committee also took into consideration the accounts shared by other climbers who made the ascent on the same date, which also raised question marks over Yadav and Goswami’s claims.
Meera Acharya, director at the Mountaineering Department, told EFE that they started a formal investigation in August last year following a request from India’s Ministry of Youth and Sports, four years after the controversial summit.
Yadav, 26, was nominated in 2020 with Tenzing Norgay National Adventure Award, India’s largest recognition in the field of adventure sports. However, his participation in the ceremony was suspended over doubts concerning his claims of having scaled Mt. Everest.
As part of the evidence of having climbed Everest, every climber has to submit a photograph standing atop the mountain at the Mountaineering Department within five months of the completion of the expedition in order to get the certificate.
According to Acharya, there has been an increase in cases of submitting fake documents to claim the Everest climbing certificates over the years.
In 2016, Nepal imposed a 10-year mountaineering ban on two Indian climbers Dinesh Rathore and Tara Keshari Rathore who claimed to be the first Indian couple to have climbed Everest.
“In that case too, photos submitted to the department showing Dinesh and Tara at the summit were morphed,” Acharya said.
Out of nine fake certificate cases under investigation, four includes Indian nationals. EFE-EPA