Suicide Case From 2017 Viral as ‘Exposé’ on Govt’s COVID-19 Relief
The image is from a 2017 incident in Jodhpur where four members of a family killed themselves due to poverty.
As India grapples with the coronavirus crisis, visuals showing the plight of those belonging to the underprivileged sections of society have come to light from various parts of the country.
In light of this, an image of a family that reportedly killed themselves is being shared on social media to insinuate that it “exposes” the truth behind the government’s relief work for coronavirus.
However, the image is from a 2017 incident from Jodhpur, when four members of a family had killed themselves due to poverty.
The image is viral on Facebook and Twitter with multiple claims.
One claim which is being widely circulated suggests that the family killed themselves after the government’s COVID-19 help failed to reach them. “सरकार के राहत की पोल खोलती हुई एक हृदयविदारक घटना | क्या देश को इस हृदय विदारक घटनाओं का ज़िक्र केंद्र सरकार के किसी मंत्री या अधिकारी द्वारा अफ़सोस करते दिखी....? मोदी जी-आप ये किस तरह का नया भारत बना चुके हैं...! (sic)” [Translation: This picture exposes the truth behind government’s relief work. Has any cabinet minister or officer working for the government expressed grief about this incident? What kind of new India are you building, Modiji?]
The image is also viral with another claim which states that it shows the family of a Hindu shoe-maker in Pakistan.
WHAT WE FOUND
A Google reverse image search directed us to a research paper with a case study on the aforementioned incident, published in an online journal of forensic sciences in October 2019.
The paper, titled Quadruple hanging: a rare scenario in filicide-suicide, has been authored by forensic medicine doctors at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Jodhpur.
According to a report by fact-checking website BOOM, one of the doctors confirmed that the image was taken by a doctor who was working as a forensic expert at the crime scene in 2017.
“The incident happened in a village in Jodhpur where a farmer committed suicide owing to poverty and indebtedness. The family stayed in a small room near the fields in Jodhpur's Bhakri village,” stated the BOOM report quoting Navneet Kataria, one of the co-authors of the paper.
Next, we conducted a Google search using keywords “Jodhpur family commits suicide” and found several news reports about the incident from 2017. According to a Jagran report, dated 31 August 2017, the family was dealing with extreme poverty and both the husband and wife were critically ill.
Clearly, a case from 2017 is being used to falsely claim that members of a family killed themselves because of hunger and poverty during COVID crisis.
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