Coronavirus: Photos, videos viral with false “organ trading of dead bodies” claim

Multiple social media users claimed that organs were missing from the dead body of a patient who died of COVID-19 in Mumbai. On July 20, IBN 24×7 News (archived link) reported that a person from Gorai area in Mumbai was forcefully admitted to a hospital after he exhibited symptons such as mild fever, cold and cough. As per the report, he passed away and when his family members checked the corpse during cremation, they found that a few organs were missing. The report includes two images — a cloth with red stains covering presumably a dead body and an image of a dead body being put inside an incinerator. A similar report was published by Sonipat News Live on Facebook with the claim of human trafficking. This now stands deleted.

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The next day, Twitter user Mufti Wahiduzzaman Siddequey tweeted four images with a similar claim. Two images in his tweet were similar to those in the IBN 24×7 news report. The other two images show two men setting up a plank that takes dead bodies inside an incinerator (archived link). These images are shared by several social media users on Facebook and Twitter.

[Siddequey’s tweet in Hindi: महारष्ट्र: एक व्यक्ति को हल्की सी सर्दी बुखार खांसी हुई तो चेक करवाने गया तो उसे पाॅजिटिव बता कर जबरदस्ती भर्ती कर दिए, फिर अचानक उसकी मुत्यु हो जाती है और पूरी बाॅडी पैक करके जलाने की तैयारी की जाती है फिर परिवार के जिद्द पर जब बाॅडी खोला जाता है तो शरीर के सारे अंग गायब..!]

Since the past week, multiple videos have gone viral that show a group of people arguing with various government officials. These videos were also shared with the “organ trade” claim. Kiran Achrekar, a Facebook user, posted multiple videos with the narrative on July 13. He wrote, “Video from Manori village people protest against corona false cases. When the villagers forcefully inspected the dead body of a corona positive patient, they found that organs were missing. That is why the villagers decided not to allow anybody to be taken from the village. This is the truth of our Manori village.” This post was shared over 1,300 times and viewed more than 50,000 times. (archive link)

Video from Manori village people protest against corona false cases.
Corona ki dead body jab gaon wale zabardasti lekar…

Posted by Kiran Achrekar on Monday, July 13, 2020

Alt News has received several requests to fact-check the videos on WhatsApp (+917600011160) and on our official Android application.

Fact-check

Both social media claims related to Gorai and Manori speculate that organs were missing from the dead body of a person who lost his life to COVID. In this fact-check, we will debunk the photographs and videos separately.

Viral images

On July 24, Aaj Tak reported that these images were posted by Facebook user Versha Verma who works at an NGO called ‘Ek Divya Koshish’ in Lucknow. The NGO facilitates funeral for people with no family or relatives. On July 18, Verma had posted six images (that include all the viral images) on her Facebook profile. In her post, she wrote that the dead body was of an unidentified 43-year-old woman. The dead body was collected from King George’s Medical University postmodern department at Bhesa Kund for electric cremation.

#लावारिस महिला के शव के दाह संस्कार की सेवा#
#दूसरी इलेक्ट्रिक क्रीमेशन मशीन है खराब#
#कोविड-19 से हुई death की डेड बॉडी…

Posted by Versha Verma on Saturday, 18 July 2020

Alt News spoke with Verma, she informed that the cremation took place on July 18 and she was present during the process. She categorically refuted social media claims. On July 23, Verma posted on Facebook that she has filed a police complaint with the Cyber ​​Crime Cell at Hazratganj and Gomti Nagar Extension police station, Lucknow against Delhi Crime Press reporter Om Shukla and others for spreading misinformation.

मानसिक प्रताड़ना के बाद…
#हुई सच्चाई की जीत#
#दिल्ली क्राइम प्रेस ने मानी गलती#
#लावारिस दाह संस्कार की फोटो का गलत…

Posted by Versha Verma on Wednesday, 22 July 2020

Viral videos

Manori is a village located in Dharavi Bhet in northern Mumbai. Alt News reached out to senior police inspector Sanjeev Narkar at Gorai police station. He said, “The incident took place on July 13. The claims about viral videos from Manori village are false. Narkar informed that the argument was sparked after Bombay Municipal Corporation (BMC) staff visited the locality to admit a person to an institutional quarantine centre.

YouTube channel ‘On Record Mira Bhayandar’ published a ground report where they spoke with Arvind Shetty, a resident of Manori. As per Shetty, someone did test positive, however, no COVID-19 related deaths have occurred in the area so far. Thus, refuting social media claims. He also stated that locals don’t trust institutional quarantine centres at Charkop and Malad because of issues such as poor waste management and delay in the food service.

Local newspaper Saamna also published a report on the incident on July 20. The report quoted inspector Narkar’s statement that no person died due to COVID-19 in Manori. Thus, there is no question of a dead body.

Alt News also consulted Marathi and Konkani speakers. They stated that nobody in the viral videos can be heard using the words “dead body”.

Thus, the claim that the viral images are from Gorai, Mumbai and related to organ trading is false. As per our investigation, the images are from Bhesa Kund, a Lucknow-based cremation facility. They were falsely reported by IBN 24×7 News and Sonipat News Live as “human trafficking”. Similarly, the video of locals in Manori arguing with medical workers have also been shared with a similar false narrative. Locals were not quarrelling because “organs were found missing from the dead body of a coronavirus patient.” In fact, as per the police, there have been no COVID-related deaths in the area as of July 20.

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