Sudarshan News tweeted a video of a man handing a tube from an RT-PCR COVID test kit to another who fills it with an unused swab. The channel claimed that ward boy ‘Hassan’ destroyed and threw a COVID testing kit without using it to collect samples. It is noteworthy that three people can be spotted in the video but Sudarshan News has identified one of them named Hassan. 

Suresh Chavhanke, CMD and editor-in-chief of Sudarshan News, also tweeted the video and highlighted Hassan’s name.

Sudarshan News’s video was picked up by a few users on Twitter.

It is circulating on Facebook as well.

Sudarshan News cherry-picked the name of the Muslim accused

According to a report by The Times of India, two healthcare workers were booked in Basti, Uttar Pradesh on May 31 after a video of them packing an RT-PCR kit without collecting a sample went viral. The district administration took cognizance of the matter and has ordered an investigation. The report identified the accused as lab technician (LT) Nitesh Kumar and ward boy Mohammad Hassan. Following the instruction of the district magistrate, chief medical officer (CMO) Dr Anuj Kumar suspended Hassan and wrote a letter to the district urban development agency (DUDA) to end the contract of the LT.

PTI reported that the incident took place at Manjharia Primary Health Centre in Mahripur village of Uttar Pradesh’s Basti district. The report also mentions that in the viral video, lab technician Nitesh Kumar opens the kit, then packs it without taking the sample from an elderly man. Ward boy Mohammad Hassan is the one seen filling up the form with the elderly man’s details.

Basti DM wrote on Twitter that an FIR has been registered against the two and dismissal proceedings have started with immediate suspension of the ward boy.

Alt News spoke with a local journalist who said that the motive behind the act hasn’t been ascertained but the duo has been suspended from work after an FIR was filed. 

If one carefully watches the video, one of the men (identified as Hassan in media reports) picks up an empty tube, purportedly writes a patient’s name on the tube and hands it over to another man (identified as Nitesh Kumar in media reports). Kumar fills the tube with an unused swab. However, one more person can be seen in the video behind Kumar. None of the reports mention the third person or that an FIR was filed against three people. Nagar SHO in Basti district Sadanand Panday told Alt News that two people are named in the FIR. It is also noteworthy that Hassan picks up another tube after handing over the first one to Kumar. SHO Panday said that the initial probe suggests that they tampered with the results of more than one person.

Sudarshan News cherry-picked the name of the Muslim ward boy to give the incident an anti-Muslim spin. The channel is infamous for adding a communal flavour to stories where none exist. A similar pattern is also observed on social media. Last month, seven people from both the Hindu and Muslim communities were arrested in a fake Remdesivir racket in Gujarat. But only the names of the Muslim accused were highlighted on social networking platforms. 

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About the Author

Kalim is a journalist with a keen interest in tech, misinformation, culture, etc