उड़ीसा से आज खबर मिली है की बिहार से झारखंड होते हुए भिखारी के बेस में पांच सौ लोग निकले है जो रासते में जो मिलता है उसको काटकर कलेजे अौर कीडनी निकाल रहे है जिसमे से छः सात लोग पकड़े गाए है .जो पकडे़ गए हैं वही लोग को कडी़ पुछताच के बाद पांच सौ लोग आने की बात काबुल की है इसलिए हमारे भाईयों मेसेज को आपके जितने परिवार और मेंबर है सबको परवड कीजे इसमे एक विडयो भी (There are reports that 500 people disguised as beggars are traveling from Bihar to Jharkhand. Whoever they come across is killed, and the kidney and liver is removed. Six-seven people have been arrested. After interrogation they revealed that they are about 500, so please forward this message to all family members. There is a video too- translated). This message is currently spreading widely on WhatsApp wherein it is being shared in many groups. The message is accompanied by a set of images, some of which are gory (viewer caution is advised).

One photograph shows large cardboard boxes filled with what appears to be human bodies wrapped in plastic. Another set of gory images shows women lying in a pool of blood in a room. Then, there are images of the persons who are supposedly behind this act. Some of them are shown to be arrested and taken into custody by the police.

This message is also spreading rapidly on Facebook where individual users have uploaded it along with a set of photographs, some of which are the same as posted above. These messages uploaded on Facebook also mention phone numbers, which suggests that it has been copy-pasted from WhatsApp.

Another message which has been posted says, “कृपया सावधान रहें राँची,घोराठी,तिलैया,चितरतपुर, गोला,बरवाडीह और रामगढ , ओरमांझी, पतरातू, हज़ारीबाग़, बोकारो, आदि जगोहो पर 15 से 20 लोगों की टोली आई है उनके साथ बच्चे और लेडीस हैं और उनके पास हथियार भी हैं और और आधी रात को किसी भी वक्त आते हैं और बच्चे के रोने की आवाज आती है कृपया दरवाजा ना खोले प्लीज ज्यादा से ज्यादा ग्रुप में से शेयर करें यह अस्थानीये पुलिस की तरफ से मैसेज है पूरे एरिया में 2 से 3 दिन के अंदर फेल जाना चाहिए। अपनी सूरक्षा अपने हाथ, सावधान रहे, जनहित मे जारी. (Please note. Ranchi, Ghorathi, Tilaiya, Chitratpur, Gola, Barwadih and Ramgadh, Ormanjhi, Patratu, Hazaribaug, Bokaro and at other places, a gang of 15-20 has arrived with women and children. They have weapons and they appear at any time of the night. If you hear a child wailing please do not open the door. Share this widely in your groups, police has asked us to spread this message in the entire region in 2-3 days. Our safety in our hands- translated).

Where are these pictures from? Is this claim true?

In the last few days, multiple reports have simultaneously emerged from various parts of the country that rumours of child abduction gangs being active and lurking resulted in a spate of lynchings. These incidents occurred in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh, among other states. Police has also arrested some people for spreading rumours and creating a fear psychosis.

Alt News searched for these pictures online using the Google reverse image search option. We could not find results for some of the photographs. However, for one of the images showing cardboard boxes carrying what appear to be human bodies, we found that this photograph is of the victims of a helicopter crash that took place in Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh in October, 2017. Five air force and two army personnel were killed after an MI 17 helicopter crashed on October 6. Numerous media reports had outraged over the use of cardboard boxes for transporting the bodies of the defence personnel owing to lack of body bags in the area. An excerpt from an article by The Wire is posted below along with the image.

The photograph of five arrested men has been circulating on social media and WhatsApp with varying claims. Some of these messages claim that this is a child abduction gang from Tamil Nadu while others claim it is from Karnataka. A report by The News Minute has stated that Bengaluru police has clarified via Twitter that these pictures are fake. Alt News however could not independently verify where these pictures are from.

For another set of photographs which show women lying in a pool of blood inside a room, the search result took us to a blog page dainikswaraj.blogspot.com. These photographs were posted on this page on September 29, 2015 in an article which claimed that this is the handiwork of some members of the transgender community in Mumbai. Alt News could not verify this claim independently. However, the fact that images are present on the Internet since 2015 proves that these cannot represent any current event as it is being claimed.

Another image search took us to an article published on a Telugu website on May 22 2018, in which it is stated that rumours have been circulating via WhatsApp that fiery demons are out on the streets killing people and eating their brain, heart and kidneys. One of the images posted above has been used in the article and shows that this image has been circulating with the rumour in Telangana.

Another photograph again took us to a Telugu website in which an article with the title ‘Fake news in Telugu rumours lead to violence’. In this article dated May 20 2018, a photograph is posted and it has been reported that this is part of a set of photographs circulating on WhatsApp with the claim that these are child kidnappers.

Many of the social media and WhatsApp posts also have a video along with the several images that have been debunked above. This video was circulated just a few days ago claiming that these are Muslims rioting in Birmingham whereas the image was actually football related vandalism in Switzerland.

In May 2017, rumours over WhatsApp about a child abduction gang has resulted in the lynching of seven people in Jharkhand. The same pattern is now being witnessed at multiple places. The menace of misinformation has now reached a point where people are lynched on the street over such rumours. A conscious and sinister attempt to create fear psychosis among the masses has resulted in shocking incidents of mob violence in recent times. The nature of the WhatsApp platform with its end-to-end encryption makes it impossible to find the origins of such dangerous rumour-mongering, presenting a formidable challenge to law enforcement authorities as such posts spread widely in no time.

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About the Author

Arjun Sidharth is a writer with Alt News. He has previously worked in the television news industry, where he managed news bulletins and breaking news scenarios, apart from scripting numerous prime time television stories. He has also been actively involved with various freelance projects. Sidharth has studied economics, political science, international relations and journalism. He has a keen interest in books, movies, music, sports, politics, foreign policy, history and economics. His hobbies include reading, watching movies and indoor gaming.