Alt News has received images on its WhatsApp helpline number (+91 76000 11160) with an accompanying claim that alleges employees of a soft drink company contaminated its products with Ebola virus-infected blood. It also said that the news was first broken by NDTV and the Hyderabad police alerted consumers, warning them against purchasing soft drinks.
The complete message in Hindi is attached below.
This screenshot of the message is widespread on Facebook.
A single Google search throws up several fact-check reports on the alleged incident. Multiple media outlets have debunked this claim over the years, yet it continues to be shared widely. In fact, the number of images accompanying the viral message has only increased. We will first discuss the origin of the claim, then proceed to investigate the images.
The Ebola virus was first discovered in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1976. Outbreaks of the virus continued to re-emerge from time to time, killing hundreds of people. However, the Ebola virus returned in its most dangerous form between 2014 and 2016. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 11,310 people died in three African countries in these three years. Only a handful of Ebola cases were reported in India. The claim that NDTV broke the story about the contamination of the drinks is false since no such report was found.
In a July 2019 tweet, the Hyderabad police also rubbished the false claim and denied issuing any such message.
Fake news spreading on social media about cool drinks and a warning from Hyderabad city police is fake one and Hyderabad city police never released any message regarding this. pic.twitter.com/cCy32Vh7fN
— హైదరాబాద్ సిటీ పోలీస్ Hyderabad City Police (@hydcitypolice) July 13, 2019
Image 1 and 2
These images are not from India. The photos are from the Begpur village in Pakistan’s Gujranwala where the district administration raided a factory manufacturing adulterated cold drinks in 2015. Pakistani outlet Pak101 has published other images from the raid.
Image 3, 4, and 5:
These pictures are of the same incident. In March last year, a car rammed into the Rapti river in Siddharthnagar, Uttar Pradesh. According to reports, two women were killed in the crash while the driver survived. The body of a minor could not be traced. The video report is given below.
The sixth image shows the bodies of those killed in the suicide bombing near the Wagah border in November 2014. At least 52 people were killed in an explosion at the Wagah border in the middle of a crowd that had come to watch the ceremony in the evening. The blast occurred near the Pakistan border.
This picture shows the corpses of those killed in a road accident in Lakhimpur, Uttar Pradesh. On April 28, 2018, a truck and a car collided in Lakhimpur’s Ucholia area, in which 13 people were killed. Dhaurahara MP Rekha Verma issued a post about the incident on Facebook. Image 7 was one of the photos accompanying her post.
आज हमारे संसदीय क्षेत्र में पड़ने वाले कस्बा उचौलिया से निकले नेशनल हाईवे पर एक अत्यंत दुःखद सड़क हादसा हुआ जिसमें कई…
The bodies in this photo belong to a family from Mammillagadda in Telangana. Unable to repay a loan, six members of the family died by suicide, Deccan Herald and The Hindu also carried similar photos from the scene.
Alt News was unable to trace this image. Needless to say, this image too cannot be about Ebola virus-infected blood infused in drinks because there is no report to corroborate such an incident.
The viral claim about an employee of a soft drink company mixing Ebola virus-infected blood in a Coke bottle has been circulating online for quite some time. Hoaxorfact.com debunked this back in 2015. The article states that such messages were revived after the Ebola outbreak in 2018. Another false story involved an HIV-positive employee contaminating Frooti with their blood.