First Kashmiri woman on Everest 'morphed' photograph to receive summit certificate?

KATHMANDU: A 26-year-old woman who claimed she was the first Kashmiri woman to successfully scale the world’s highest peak has reportedly ‘doctored’ a photograph to earn her summit certificate in the spring climbing season..

According to officials at the Department of Tourism, Nahida Manzoor from Jammu & Kashmir, India, received her summit certificate on June 13 as she claimed to have climbed Mt Everest on May 22.

“We have now found her claim very suspicious though she had already been awarded with the summit certificate,” Meera Acharya, Director at the Department of Tourism, said, adding that the photograph Nahida provided to DoT looked like a ‘morphed’ version of the summit photo submitted by Bhawna Dehariya, a woman climber from Madhya Pradesh, India.

Fellow climbers also claimed that Nahida had never reached the summit of Mt Everest on May 22 while her climbing guide Nima Kancha Sherpa abandoned her at the South Col. Bhawna, a member of Eco Everest Expedition led by Anita Devi, had, however, scaled Mt Everest on May 22, according to a DoT official.

Nahida, a resident of Zewan Srinagar, was part of the 11-member expedition led by Gurinder Singh. The DoT issued a summit certificate to her after team leader Singh, Snowy Horizon Treks & Expeditions and team’s liaison officer authenticated her claims, Acharya informed.

Bodhraj Bhandari, Managing Director at Snowy Horizon Treks, said that his company recommended for summit certificates to eight members including Nahida after they claimed that they stood atop the roof of the world.

Police Inspector Dilli Bahadur Thapa, who was assigned as a liaison officer for the expedition, also authenticated Nahida’s claim, recommending her a summit certificate. “Like many other LOs, Thapa had never stayed at the base camp in the spring season,” expedition organizers said.

Nahida has been accused of doctoring Bhawna’s photo atop the Mt Everest on May 22, Ratnesh Pandey, another Indian climber, shared.

“The DoT will open a probe into the case at the earliest,” Acharya said.

Earlier, THT investigation revealed that three climbers from Haryana, India- Vikas Rana, Shobha Banwala and Ankush Kasana- who claimed that they made it to the roof of the world on May 26, had never reached Camp IV on Mt Everest this spring season.

In 2016, Indian police constables Dinesh Rathod and his wife, Tarakeshwari, had been sacked from the force for faking Mt Everest climb while the couple had also been banned from climbing in Nepal for ten years.

According to DoT, at least 644 climbers including 364 high altitude guides representing 43 expeditions successfully scaled Mt Everest this spring season.