Old Image Shared As Cop Carrying Corpse Amid Second COVID Wave
Prashant Singh, the cop seen in the image, said that they carried the body only till the ambulance.
An old photo of a cop carrying a corpse is being circulated online with the false claim that he was carrying the body in Uttar Pradesh’s Budaun on his shoulders. It goes on to take a dig at the state government and questions why no ambulance or hearse is available.
This comes on the back of news reports highlighting the lack of healthcare facilities to treat COVID patients as a second wave ravages India.
However, The Quint’s WebQoof team found out that the image is from Fatehpur Sikri and was taken in 2020. Prashant Singh, one of the cops seen in the image, told us that they carried the corpse to the ambulance and not to the crematorium, as claimed.
The claim is being shared by multiple users on Twitter and Facebook. One of the posts shared was by Aradhana Misra Mona, Congress MLA from Rampur Khas, Uttar Pradesh.
She posted the image on 16 May and wrote, “Family abandons the dead and a Badayun cop taking the body on his shoulders. The policeman should be felicitated. But where are the ambulances and hearse vans that the state govt claims are in abundance. BJP Has Robbed #DignityToTheDead. Sad and Shameful. (sic)”
The post has also been shared on a Facebook fan page of Tata Group chairman emeritus Ratan Tata, which has 150.4k members. You can view an archived version of the post here, with the same claim.
WHAT WE FOUND OUT
While scrolling through the comments of the tweet by Aradhana Misra Mona, we found a reply by UP police personnel Sachin Kaushik.
He said that the photo dates back to 2020 and the incident happened under the jurisdiction of Fatehpur Sikri police station. He added that the photo is not related to COVID-19.
“Sub-inspector Prashant and constable Aman had carried the body on their shoulders till the vehicle that was going to the mortuary. The vehicle could not reach the spot. So, it was parked 200-250 metres away,” he wrote in his reply on Twitter.
We then searched with the keyword ‘इंस्पेक्टर प्रशांत सिंह’ (Translated: Inspector Prashant Singh) on Facebook that led us to a post by Deputy Superintendent of Police Sandeep Verma on 16 May 2021.
He had appreciated Singh for his commendable work and the latter had also replied to the post thanking him for his encouraging words.
THE VIRAL IMAGE IS FROM 2020 AND NOT A RECENT ONE
Singh told The Quint’s WebQoof team that he is the one in the viral photo and it was taken last year when he carried the unidentified body from Bharhkol village that falls under the Fatehpur Sikri police jurisdiction and took it to the ambulance as it couldn't reach the spot.
Speaking about the incident, Singh said that he was posted in Agra’s Fatehpur Sikri police station in March last year.
“Upon receiving information that a body was found in a canal in Bharhkol village, constable Aman and I left for the spot. The corpse had decomposed and since it was emanating a stench, no one wanted to get close to the body. So, we carried the corpse till the ambulance, which was parked around 500 metres away and took it to SN Hospital in Agra.”Sub-Inspector Prashant Singh
"The person had drowned and was not COVID positive," he added.
Singh, who is currently posted at Etimad-ud-Daulah police station in Agra, shared with The Quint’s WebQoof team the video of the duo carrying the body.
He also shared a link to a Facebook post shared on 7 April 2020 that carried an image similar to the viral one. Singh further said that Senior Sub-inspector JP Ashok had captured the video and posted it on his Facebook account.
We also found a tweet by the official Twitter handle of Budaun police who said that the viral photo is not from Budaun and is an old one.
Clearly, an old photo from Agra’s Fatehpur Sikri was used to falsely claim that it shows policeman carrying a corpse in Uttar Pradesh’s Budaun amid the second wave of coronavirus.
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