Old image from Meerut shared as funeral procession of Pune-based doctor who died of COVID

Since the last week of August, several Facebook and Twitter users have been sharing an image of a funeral procession. As per their claim, Muslim youths organised a funeral procession for Pune-based doctor Ramakant Joshi after his family could not turn up due to COVID-19.

Twitter user @MohammadFahim78 tweeted the viral image and wrote, “MBBS Dr. Ramakant Joshi has died today in Pune. He has a son but he lives in the US and his wife is 74 years old. The doctor wanted that as part of his last rites he should be carried on the shoulders of four people but due to coronavirus, no one from the family was ready to come for the funeral. Muslim youths made all arrangements together.” (archived link)

(Translated from: पुणे में आज MBBS डॉ रमाकांत जोशी जी की मृत्यु हो गई है उनका एक लड़का ह लेकिन वह अमेरिका में है और पत्नी की उम्र74वर्ष है और डॉ चाहते थे कि वे 4 लोगों के कंधों पर जाऊं लेकिन कोरोना के वजह से कोई भी परिजन उनके पास आने के लिए तैयार नहीं था मुस्लिम युवकों ने मिलकर सारी व्यवस्था की)

Facebook user Jagesh Chawla posted the viral image and wrote in Hindi that Muslim youths carried the doctor’s funeral as per Hindu rituals. This post has been shared over 1000 times. (archived link)

(Translated from पुणे में आज MBBS डॉ. रमाकांत जोशी जी की कोरोना से मृत्यु हो गई । उनका एक लड़का है, लेकिन वह अमेरिका में रहता है और…)

पुणे में आज MBBS डॉ. रमाकांत जोशी जी की कोरोना से मृत्यु हो गई ।
उनका एक लड़का है, लेकिन वह अमेरिका में रहता है और…

Posted by Jagdeesh Chawla on Friday, 28 August 2020

Another user claimed that Tablighi Jamaat youth carried out the funeral procession.

Fact-check

Alt News performed a reverse image search on Microsoft search engine Bing and found that the viral image was published on Pakistani news blog Siasat on May 2. As per the article, the picture shows the funeral of a 68-year-old temple priest Ramesh Mathur in Meerut.

Using this as a clue we performed a keyword search on Google and found that The Times of India (TOI) and Asianet carried the viral image in their reports on April 30 and May 1 respectively. As per the reports, the image shows the funeral of a Meerut-based priest Ramesh Mathur. As per the TOI report, Mathur’s family expressed the need for four people to take his body to the crematorium. The incident attarcted media coverage because the procession was carried by Muslim men.

Hindustan Times (HT) and The Statesman also reported about this incident but didn’t use the same image. As per the HT report, neither Mathur’s son, who stays in Delhi, nor his relatives could visit for the funeral due to COVID-19 lockdown. The report added, “The Muslim neighbours first helped the son of the deceased prepare the bier and later took part in the funeral procession while maintaining social distancing.”

None of the reports mentioned that the Muslim men belonged to the Tablighi Jamat sect. Alt News couldn’t independently verify the claim.

But the social media claim that the image shows the funeral of Pune-based doctor Ramakant Joshi is false. The image is from the funeral of a 68-year-old temple priest Ramesh Mathur in Meerut. It was held in the last week of April when the country was observing a lockdown.

Viral image also shared as ‘Saroj Khan’s funeral’

While performing a reverse image search on Google we noticed that website TrueScoop (archived link) and YouTube channel Nyooz TV (archived link) used it as a featured image on their respective videos as Bollywood choreographer Saroj Khan’s funeral.

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