On June 13, the Indian army confirmed the demise of Colonel Santosh Babu, Commanding Officer of the 16 Bihar. Babu was martyred during a face-off with Chinese soldiers in the Galwan valley near patrolling point 14, reported The Economic Times.

Around June 16, a photograph of a child paying homage to Babu’s portrait was widely circulated on social media including on Facebook and Twitter. As per the claims, the girl in the image is the daughter of Babu. Even mainstream media outlets like Deccan Chronicle (archive link) and Assam-based TV channel DY365 (archive link) made the same claim in their news reports.

IPS Madhur Verma (archive link) and AS Sonal Goel (archive link) also made the same claim. Their tweets got over 1000 likes each. Navika Kumar, group editor of Times Group, tweeted the viral image without making an explicit claim. It was retweeted over 4,700 times (archive link).

Fact-check

The child in the viral image is a sister of an ABVP Karnataka member. On June 17, the Twitter handle of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) posted multiple tweets and clarified, “We understand their sentiments, but deem it necessary to clarify that the girl is younger sister of an @ABVPKarnataka karyakarta.”

Their Facebook page also shared multiple pictures from the private homage ceremony along with the caption, “Karyakarta of ABVP in Nelamangala Taluk of Karnataka, along with his little sister, paid homage to Col. Santhosh Babu who was martyred during the scuffle between India and China at LAC in Galwan Valley, Ladakh.”

‪Karyakarta of ABVP in Nelamangala Taluk of Karnataka, along with his little sister, paid homage to Col. Santhosh Babu…

Posted by Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) on Wednesday, June 17, 2020

The Times of India had earlier fact-checked the image.

Thus the social media claim associated with the viral image is false. The girl is not late Col Santosh Babu’s daughter.

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About the Author

🙏 Blessed to have worked as a fact-checking journalist from November 2019 to February 2023.