Organ Trafficking or a Cremation? fake news spreading like fire amid COVID-19

A number of pictures are being circulated on the internet showing a scenario which looks like a cremation in an electric crematorium, accompanied by a claim that the pictures are of an organ trafficking racket that is running during the COVID-19 pandemic, in Maharashtra. The pictures show a lady and two men executing a cremation where one shows the body covered in a sheet, are being shared with the story that there is an organ trafficking racket are carrying out acts amid coronavirus in Maharashtra.

 to the viral message, which gives a whole big incident, “There was no case of coronavirus in the Gorai area of Bhayandar. But, in the last few days, a man with mild cough and cold went to a hospital for treatment and was forcibly admitted and told he has tested positive (for COVID-19).” Later in the message it’s added that the man died and that the body was about to be cremated when the family members demanded to see the body, which is when they found out that all the organs were missing” – the Quint. A lot of people have shared the images with the same narrative on Facebook and Twitter.

A reverse image search on the images, the result directed to a website by the name of Delhi Crime Press, which had the photos with the same claim as in the viral posts as a story.

On running a keyword search on Facebook with the keywords ‘human organ trafficking’ and a post was found by a woman belonging to Lucknow, named Versha Verma.

As per Versha’s post, from 21 July, she recognised herself as the woman in the viral images. In her post, she clarified that her pictures were being misused on social media along with a false claim that an organ trafficking racket was active in Maharashtra. And also made it clear that she and her co-worker Deepak Mahajan, cremated unclaimed bodies through their NGO – ‘Ek Koshish Aesi Bhi’.

She also mentioned that they had cremated 17 such unclaimed bodies, as of now, during the lockdown. Turns out that the claim was absolutely untrue, and the pictures are of Lucknow-based NGO workers who cremate unclaimed bodies.

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