Kashmir girl lauded for climbing Everest now at centre of row over 'doctored' photo atop summit

After becoming an overnight sensation in the Kashmir Valley for climbing Mount Everest, 23-year-old Nahida Manzoor has now hit the headlines again. However, the news reports about her this time are not adulatory, but are focused on whether she doctored a photograph to earn her summit certificate.

On Wednesday, the Nepalese newspaper Himalayan Times quoted Meera Acharya, Director at the Department of Tourism, as saying, “We have now found her claim very suspicious though she had already been awarded with the summit certificate." Acharya is quoted as saying that Nahida's photograph appeared to be a "morphed" version of the photo of Bhawna Deharia, a woman from Madhya Pradesh.

The report also quoted some fellow climbers as saying that Nahida never reached the summit of Mount Everest on 22 May.

Reacting to the claims, Nahida said, "This is fake news and propaganda. I will take legal action against people who were responsible for spreading such claims."

 Kashmir girl lauded for climbing Everest now at centre of row over doctored photo atop summit

Nahida Manzoor with her summit certificate. Image courtesy: Facebook/Nahida Manzoor

She further asserted, “I reached on top of Everest on the morning of 22 May. I was separated from my team because of a traffic jam. There are eyewitnesses who prove my claim."

Nahida said that her team reached the base camp on 18 April and took two days' rest.

“Then on 21 April, we performed a pooja and began the process of acclimatisation. On 24 and 25 April, we did an ice fall and an acclimatisation walk in the Pumari base camp respectively,” she said.

Nahida further recalled the details of her journey and said, “On 18 May, we left for Camp Two, and on 19 May, we rested there. On 20 May, we left Camp Two at 8 am for Camp Three. On 21 May, we reached Camp Four. We reached the top on 22 May.”

Nahida, a resident of Zewan in Srinagar, was part of an 11-member expedition led by Gurinder Singh. After the controversy erupted, her teammates issued a statement, saying that Nahida did in fact reach the summit on 22 May.

“Her presence on the summit was further supported (sic) by a few other Indian teams and individuals, such as the NSG team on Mount Everest, and certain climbers who have publicly stated to have seen ‘a Kashmiri girl just below the summit’. She or her Sherpa have not taken (any) photo on the summit due to reasons best known to them. Also, Mr Sharad Kulkarni was only a few meters behind her and had seen her on the summit,” the statement issued by Alan Arnette, Rajan Pokhrel, Surendra Shelke and Kishor Dhankude, said.

Her expedition was reported to the Ministry of Tourism, Government of Nepal by the company M/s Snowy Horizon Treks & Expeditions Pvt Ltd as the permit was made with them.

“The ministry had kept her file aside for consideration, subject to the presentation of a valid proof of a summit photographs and/or videos,” the statement added, “However, we like to inform the respected mountaineers and the public in general that we were neither informed nor aware of the fact by what means (sic) Ms Nahida Manzoor has obtained her summit certificate. We have nothing to comment in this regard.”

Earlier, it was reported that three climbers from Haryana – Vikas Rana, Shobha Banwala and Ankush Kasana – who claimed that they made it to the top of Mount Everest on 26 May, had never reached Camp Four. In 2016, police constables Dinesh Rathod and his wife Tarakeshwari, had been sacked from the force for falsely claiming that climbed Mount Everest. They were also banned from climbing in Nepal for ten years.

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Updated Date: Jun 27, 2019 18:51:36 IST