How Indian media published false reports of graves being padlocked in Pakistan to prevent necrophilia
An image of a grave with a padlocked grille over it was picked up over the last few days by Indian media outlets which then proceeded to incorrectly report that the incident occurred in Pakistan and was done in an effort to prevent necrophilia.
The incident, in fact, took place in India’s Hyderabad.
On April 27, India Today — citing images circulating on social media — reported that some people in Pakistan had resorted to locking their daughter’s graves “to protect them from sexual violence” as the social environment had given rise to a “sexually charged and repressed society”.
Indian news agency ANI on April 29 regurgitated the claims without citing any sources or officials and also referenced an editorial published in Pakistani newspaper Daily Times.
According to Indian fact-checking website Alt News, several Indian news media outlets, including the Times of India and NDTV, published ANI’s report from their syndicated feed.
Alt News also reported that the Hindustan Times, in an article which has since been deleted, used the same picture used by ANI.
Several Indian media outlets also included a tweet by ex-Muslim Harris Sultan, who also shared the same image on Twitter and alleged that it was taken in Pakistan.
In a fact-check published on April 30, Alt News said that image used by Indian media outlets was actually from a cemetery in India’s Hyderabad.
“The cemetery is located opposite Masjid E Salar Mulk, a mosque in Darab Jung Colony, Madannapet, Hyderabad,” the report said, also adding an image of the cemetery’s Google Street View wherein the grave in question was clearly visible.
The publication also contacted a social worker named Abdul Jaleel, a resident of Hyderabad, who then visited the spot and provided pictures of the grave in question.
Jaleel also spoke to the mosque’s muezzin Muqtar who said that the padlocked grave, which was approximately one-and-a-half to two-years-old, was constructed without the permission of the concerned committee.
“A lot of people come here and bury bodies over old graves without permission. The people who already have their close ones resting here have had complaints since they come here to read fateha. In order to prevent others from burying any bodies further, the families have put the grille there,” the report quoted him as saying.
The muezzin also refuted claims being circulated online regarding the move and said that the grille had been placed to prevent people from “stamping on the grave since it was located right at the entrance”.
After the fact-check was published, ANI put up an article titled ‘Representative viral pictures of necrophilia story by Pakistan’s Daily Times incorrect, grave from Hyderabad’.
“The picture related to the necrophilia news article from Pakistan, which was reported earlier by Daily Times, was wrong as the image was wrong as the image was of a grave in India’s Hyderabad,” the article read.