On August 13, several social media users claimed that former president Pranab Mukherjee has passed away. The hashtag #ripPranabMukherjee was the number one trend on Thursday morning, as per the data on Trends24, a website that tracks Twitter trends.

Rajdeep Sardesai, consulting editor at India Today Group, tweeted, “Breaking: Former president Pranab Mukherjee has passed away.. farewell Pranab da.. many many fond memories of a dyed in the wool true Indira generation politician who lived and breathed politics..” Sardesai subsequently deleted his tweet.

Similarly, journalist Swati Chaturvedi and Congress member Vamshi Chand Reddy also claimed that Mukherjee passed away. Both these tweets were subsequently taken down.

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As per media reports, former president Pranab Mukherjee tested positive for COVID-19 on August 10. Mukherjee had also tweeted about contracting the virus. His infection was discovered prior to brain surgery to remove a clot.


The news of Pranab Mukherjee’s death was refuted by his son Abhijit Mukherjee who took to Twitter to clarify,My Father Shri Pranab Mukherjee is still alive & haemodynamically stable! Speculations & fake news being circulated by reputed Journalists on social media clearly reflects that Media in India has become a factory of Fake News.”

In a follow-up tweet, Abhijit wrote, “Update: My father is & has always been a fighter! He is slowly responding to medical interventions & all his vital parameters are stable. I urge upon every well-wisher to pray for my father’s speedy recovery! We need them.”

Mukherjee’s daughter Sharmistha Mukherjee also refuted the news of her father’s passing.

Pranab Mukherjee is currently recovering after brain surgery at New Delhi’s Army Research and Referral hospital. “The condition of former President Pranab Mukherjee remains unchanged this morning. He is deeply comatose with stable vital parameters and continues to be on ventilatory support: Army Research & Referral (R&R) Hospital, Delhi,” tweeted ANI.

Rajdeep Sardesai apologised for his blunder upon discovering that he had fallen for misinformation.

Meanwhile, Swati Chaturvedi and Vamshi Chand Reddy shared Sharmistha and Abhijit Mukherjee’s rebuttal.


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About the Author

Archit is a senior fact-checking journalist at Alt News. Previously, he has worked as a producer at WION and as a reporter at The Hindu. In addition to work experience in media, he has also worked as a fundraising and communication manager at S3IDF.