A viral claim suggests that the Uttar Pradesh police has arrested ‘Naved Alam’ for digging out dead bodies and dumping them in the Ganga river to defame Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Prime Minister Modi over rising deaths due to COVID. The claim has been shared in both English and Hindi — Naved Alam and नावेद आलम (Facebook, Twitter).
Twitter user @MJ_007Club garnered 500 retweets for the claim.
[Hindi text: मुर्दा घर में पड़े लावारिस लाशों को पैसे देकर उठाया गया और नदियों में बहाया गया….दफन किए हुए शवों को खोदकर गंगा नदी में फेंकने वाले नावेद आलम को यूपी पुलिस ने गिरफ्तार किया है.]
In the second week of May, Dainik Bhaskar reported that over 2,000 bodies were found along 1,140 km bank of river Ganga, spread across several districts in Uttar Pradesh. Multiple other media outlets – Reuters, Hindustan Times, India Today, Mojo Story, and BBC – have reported about the river swollen with corpses.
Alt News spoke with Dainik Bhasker reporter Aditya Tiwari, one of the correspondents who broke the story. “In our report, we covered an area of 1140 km and counted over 2,000 dead bodies. As per my knowledge, as of May 24, UP police has not arrested a person named Naved Alam for dumping dead bodies in Ganga as suggested on social media,” he said.
More crucially, not a single media outlet has published a report stating that Uttar Pradesh police has arrested ‘Naved Alam’.
Sky News recently tweeted drone footage of mass graves along the banks of the Ganga where people can also be seen carrying bodies to be buried.
Drone footage shows hundreds of graves along the banks of the River Ganges in India. Many of those buried are thought to have died from #COVID19.
— Sky News (@SkyNews) May 22, 2021
Alt News has reached out to UP Additional Director General of Police, Law and Order Prashant Kumar on his phone number and on Twitter. His response will be added to the report if and when he gets back to us.
WHO WAS THE FIRST TO POST THE FALSE CLAIM?
Several people have shared the screenshot of the claim tweeted by one Sanatani Thakur who has since taken down her post. We found that many individuals questioned her about the source of the information.
Can you please share the source
— Sriram (@ScientistMughal) May 22, 2021
Using social media monitoring tool CrowdTangle, we found that all posts carrying the screenshot of Thakur’s tweet were made on Facebook after 11:01 am on May 22. This is the earliest instance of the false claim that we could locate.
Uttar Pradesh police has not arrested anybody named Naved Alam for dumping dead bodies in the Ganga to defame Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Prime Minister Modi amid COVID.