In the backdrop of the raging pandemic, few pictures are being shared on social media with a claim that Sri Lankan politician Jeevan Thondaman organised a cricket match amid travel restrictions imposed to curb COVID-19 infections.
“රට වසා තිබියදී ඇමති ජීවන් තොණ්ඩමන් ක්රිකට් තරඟාවලියක් පවත්වලා (ඡායාරූප),” the caption read.
(Translation: Minister Jeevan Thondaman held a cricket tournament while the country was closed (Photos))
NewsMobile fact-checked the post and found that it to be misleading.
On putting the picture through Reverse Image Search, we found that the original photos were published on Thondaman’s Facebook account on June 6, 2021. The caption of the photo mentioned that a cricket match was organised by the women’s wing of the Ceylon Workers Congress at the Kotagala CLF sports ground under his patronage.
However, he has also mentioned hashtags like “#throwback” and “#memories” in the post which suggested that the pictures are old.
Taking a cue from this, we ran a keyword search and found a report from a local media outlet, Velaiththalam, dated March 29, 2021, covering the same event. The headline of the report can be translated to, “Women’s Day Events of the Ceylon Workers Congress”. (Original- இலங்கை தொழிலாளர் காங்கிரஸின் மகளிர்தின நிகழ்வுகள்)
The report mentioned that the Women’s Day event of the Ceylon Workers’ Congress was held on March 27, 2021, with various traditional art and cultural events.
Jeevan Thondaman, General Secretary of the Ceylon Workers’ Congress, was present at the event and awarded prizes to the contestants.
Sri Lanka’s health authorities issued travel restrictions on May 12, 2021, in a bid to prevent COVID-19 pandemic from spreading further in the island nation.
We found that the event was covered by another local media organisation on March 28, 2021. The report can be read here.
Further, we looked for any media reports to check if any such event has been organised recently but did not find any report to substantiate the claim.
The above information proves that the restrictions were imposed in the country in May while the event took place in March. Hence, the claim is misleading
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