Thursday, June 30, 2022
Thursday, June 30, 2022

HomeFact CheckOld Incidents Of Suicides Falsely Linked To Agnipath Scheme Fallout

Old Incidents Of Suicides Falsely Linked To Agnipath Scheme Fallout

Amid reports of violent protests in Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana & Rajasthan to oppose the Centre’s new Agnipath scheme, several users are sharing images of protests and casualties following the announcement of the scheme. 

One such image shows a collage of photographs of young men who have allegedly killed themselves over the Agnipath scheme, which was verified to be false by Newschecker.

Twitter user @AnilKum84506495 was among the many users who shared the image which appears to be a collage of screenshots of different incidents , alleging that several men had killed themselves over the scheme. With  over 200 retweets and  200 likes, the post is steadily gaining traction.

Note: The collage consists of images of bodies of people who died by suicide and maybe distressing to some.

You can see Anil Kumar’s tweet here.

False suicides linked to Agnipathe scheme
Blurred version of the collage tweeted by Anil Kumar

The same collage was also shared by other social media users as well. You can see them here, here and here.

What is the Agnipath scheme? 

The Agnipath scheme is a new defence recruitment reform suggested by the Modi government wherein approximately 50,000 soldiers called Agniveers will be recruited annually. After four years of service, only 25% will be allowed to continue for another 15 years under permanent commission. The remaining 75% will have to leave the forces after a tenure of four years. The move will make the permanent force levels much leaner for the over 13-lakh strong armed forces in the country. The scheme is expected to considerably reduce the defence pension bill, which has been a major concern for governments for many years.

Also read: Newspaper Clipping Of Youth Who Took Own Life Not Linked To Agnipath Scheme

Fact check/Verification

Since the screengrab contained multiple images, Newschecker attempted to find the source of the images used one by one. 

Image 1

Seen on the left top corner of the collage

On conducting a keyword search with the terms ‘fansi ka fanda’ (noose for hanging) on Google and sifting through Google images, Newschecker came upon the viral image. On clicking the preview, we were directed to a Facebook post by a page called Today Darpan, based in Safidon, Haryana. The image was posted on March 2020, and the caption revealed that the youth, 32-year-old Sunil Kumar, was a resident of Ludana village in Haryana. The post  further revealed that Sunil killed himself over alleged harassment by his wife and his in-laws. However, we could not find any more reports on the same. 

Image 2

The image seen next in clockwise sequence on the first collage

Since the image was not clear, Newschecker looked on Twitter to find a clearer version of the image, which we found was tweeted by the handle @Kapiljatkp2.

A  reverse image search led us to a report on a Haryana based website called Yuva Haryana. According to the article posted on 19 June 2018, a couple who were staying for 3 days in a Kurukshetra hotel were found to have died by suicide. The image of the man in the twitter post is the same as the image of the man  seen in the article posted by Yuva Haryana. On further research, we also found a report on Amar Ujala that relayed the same information and carried a blurred version of the same image. The report also identified the deceased man as 24 year old Jagaptal. Though the reports do not mention any reasons for the suicides.

Image 3

The image seen third in clockwise sequence in the first collage

On conducting a keyword search for the words “fansi mein yuvak ki maut”, Newschecker found the same image posted on a website called Aajtak24, in November 2019. On checking out the details, we found that the youth, identified as 25-year-old Babbu, from Jhabua in Madhya Pradesh, died by hanging. While the reason for the death has not been revealed, the report stated that Babbu was in a love affair with a girl from a  tribal community, while he was married himself, and had three kids.

Image 4

Image seen 4th in sequence in the first collage

Image 4 shows a youth hanging by a tree in a village, which is too blurred in the collage tweeted by Anil Kumar, but Newschecker found a different version of the same collage tweeted by @INQUILA74597428, which carried a clearer version of the image. 

On conducting a reverse image search, Newschecker  traced the image to a report published on a local news website called ‘Dainik Jabalpur Darpan’, which was published on June 4, 2022, and carried the same image. According to the report, the man, identified as 38-year-old Rajendra Pradhan, a resident of Khaira village, took the drastic step due to unknown reasons. There  weren’t many other reports on the incident.

Image 5

The image seen on left hand lower corner of the first collage

The tweet by @Kapiljatkp2 also carried another image that was seen in the viral collage, and on conducting a reverse image search on the same, we found an article posted on a website called AIMA media in October 2020.  While the article does not identify the  victim, it mentions that the incident took place in Lakhimpur Kheri of Uttar Pradesh and that on first appearance, the incident looks like the victim was hung on a noose after he was murdered to make the death appear as a suicide. Newschecker conducted further research but were unable to find any more information on the subject.

Image 6, 7& 8

Image 6 (seen between image 1 and image 5) is too blurred to make out anything, while image 7  (right corner of the collage) shows a youth hanging on what appears to be a foot overbridge in a railway station.

Image 6
Image 7

Image 8 shows another youth in black t-shirt hanging by a tree in a farm, with police officials and locals assembled around the dead body.

Image 8

But despite repeated attempts, Newschecker could not trace the original due to the poor quality of the image. The article will be updated with details when we trace the details of the original images. 

Image 9

Image seen in the lower left corner of the viral collage

The image shows a group of women wailing around two bodies that are placed on a pile of hay on the ground. The frame also has the image of an old man who appears to be reaching out and touching one of the bodies. Text accompanying the image reads ‘Two brothers from Sahranpur were set on joining the army. Gave up their life together.” On conducting a reverse image search using Yandex, we found an article on a website called Balkan Express, which carried the same image.  The article was titled “Mass suicides of farmers or GM seeds of evil” and was posted on November 2012. The image was captioned “13 June 2011 – Anantapur – 5 peanut growers commit suicide during this period.” On a Google reverse image search of the same image with the keyword farmer suicide, Newschecker found the same image used by several webpages.  

On tracing the oldest available usage of the image, we found a Google sites profile of one Ram Krishnan, who had used the image to describe his travels through rural India. One of the images used to show the farmers’ plight is this very same image. He writes in his webpage, “As I write this on August 28th, 2007, Channel 2 or PBS TV is running a special on the farmers who are committing suicide in Vidarbha region of the State of Maharashtra.” This indicates that the image has been around in the internet since 2007 at least.

Conclusion

Several old images of young men who died under different circumstances have been shared in the context of the Central government’s new Agnipath scheme.  

Result: False context/False 

Please note: If you are feeling overwhelmed or hopeless, or feel the need to talk to someone, please reach out to a mental health expert or any helplines including Aasra: +91 9152987821 or Vandrevala Foundation: +91 9999 666 555


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Pankaj Menon
Pankaj Menon
Pankaj Menon is a fact-checker based out of Delhi who enjoys ‘digital sleuthing’ and calling out misinformation. He has completed his MA in International Relations from Madras University and has worked with organisations like NDTV, Times Now and Deccan Chronicle online in the past.
Pankaj Menon
Pankaj Menon
Pankaj Menon is a fact-checker based out of Delhi who enjoys ‘digital sleuthing’ and calling out misinformation. He has completed his MA in International Relations from Madras University and has worked with organisations like NDTV, Times Now and Deccan Chronicle online in the past.

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