There has been an alarming surge in the number of COVID-19 cases in India over the last few weeks. The death toll due to the fatal disease is also on a constant rise. Amidst such difficult times, social media has given the public more reasons to worry as several online posts have claimed that hospitals are indulging in organ trafficking under the garb of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
A bunch of Facebook and Twitter users have shared multiple pictures and videos stating that Mumbai hospitals are producing false positive reports in order to admit individuals and then harvest their organs.
Numerous social media posts have claimed that a man was admitted to a hospital in Mumbai's Gorai area on the basis of a dubious report and was found dead just days later under suspicious circumstances. They further reported that when his family members had a look at his body, they found a few organs missing. All such posts carried photos of a dead body wrapped in a shroud.
"A new scam in the name of COVID-19. In the Gorai area of Bhayandar, a person with mild fever and cold and cough went to a hospital to get himself checked. He was declared COVID-19 positive and was forcefully admitted to the hospital. A few days later, he suddenly passed away and all arrangements were made to cremate him. But, his family members insisted on seeing his body and found that several of his body parts were missing. There should be a CBI probe," read one such post.
Besides, videos of a group of people arguing with government officials in Manori village in Mumbai are also being shared with the "organ trade" spin.
The pictures, which have been presented as organ trafficking in Gorai, were originally shared by a Facebook user Versha Verma who works at a Lucknow based NGO called Ek Divya Endeavor that facilitates funeral for people with no family or friends.
Versha told fact-checking website Alt News that the dead body in the images was of an unidentified 43-year-old woman. It was collected from King George's Medical University's postmodern department for electric cremation.
She further informed that she filed a police complaint with the Cyber Crime Cell at Hazratganj and Gomti Nagar Extension police station in Lucknow against a reporter and others for using the images to spread misinformation regarding organ trading.
As for the videos from Manori village, senior police inspector Sanjeev Narkar confirmed to Alt News that the clips were from a separate and unrelated incident. "The argument was sparked after Bombay Municipal Corporation (BMC) staff visited the locality to admit a person to an institutional quarantine centre," he was quoted a saying.
Therefore, the claims made by social media posts that hospitals are running organ trafficking rackets amid the COVID-19 pandemic are false.