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HomeFact CheckStation Master ‘Sharif’ Absconding Since Odisha Train Accident? No, False Claim Viral...

Station Master ‘Sharif’ Absconding Since Odisha Train Accident? No, False Claim Viral Post Train Mishap

Authors

Vasudha noticed the growing problem of mis/disinformation online after studying New Media at ACJ in Chennai and became interested in separating facts from fiction. She is interested in learning how global issues affect individuals on a micro level. Before joining Newschecker’s English team, she was working with Latestly.

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.

Claim
Station Master Sharif is on a run since the tragic three-way train accident near Bahanaga Bazar railway station in Odisha’s Balasore.

Fact
No staff or station master named Sharif is posted at the Bahanaga Bazar railway station. South Eastern Railway CPRO confirmed that no staff has been absconding, and everyone is cooperating in the ongoing investigation into the cause of the accident. 

A multi-train collision near Bahanaga Bazar railway station in Odisha’s Balasore district last week killed at least 278 people and left over 1000 injured. While the CBI  has taken over the probe, several social media users have claimed “station master Sharif, who was responsible & posted where the Koramondal (Coromandel) Express collided, is missing.” Users sharing the post further alleged that “Intelligence agencies suspect Bangladeshi & Rohingya angles plus ISI and Manipur. (sic)”

Such posts can be seen here, here, here, here and here.

Multiple other social media users shared a photograph of a man claiming to show the “absconding Station Master Mohammad Sharif Ahmed”

Such posts can be seen here, here and here.

Newschecker had earlier debunked similar communal claims that alleged that the crash took place adjacent to a mosque, while in reality, the structure was found to be an ISKCON temple. 

Fact Check/Verification

The train accident took place near Bahanaga station in Odisha’s Balasore. A keyword search for “station master,” and “Bahanaga” on Google led us to a report by Odisha Bhaskar, dated June 5, 2023. The report stated, “The Railway Safety Commissioner team is currently interrogating Bahanga Bazar Station Master SB Mohanty over the Coromandel train accident near the Bahanaga station of Balasore district.”

A video report by India Today, dated June 5, 2023, also identified SB Mohanty as the station master on duty on the day of the multi-train accident. The report also quoted the current station master SK Pattanayak saying that Mohanty was not to be blamed for the accident, despite reports of him being shunted. 

Screengrab from YouTube video by India Today

Further, South Eastern Railway’s Chief Public Relations Officer Aditya Kumar Chaudhary told ANI, “Fake news is going on at some places that railway workers have absconded, there is nothing like that, all the workers are in touch with us. Everything is being done as per process. There is nothing like wrong names of railwaymen being used. Whatever information is being shared by the Railways is correct.” 

Screengrab from Times Of India website

Also Read: Odisha Train Accident -Images Of Morbi Hospital Being Refurbished Shared As Cuttack Hospital Renovation Ahead Of PM Modi’s Visit

Newschecker also reached out to CPRO Aditya Kumar Chaudhary who dismissed the viral claim about the Bahanaga Bazar station master. He said that there was no staff or station master named Sharif posted at the station. Chaudhary further clarified, “None of the staff is absconding from duty. They are part of the investigation. They are all cooperating in the investigation.”

Notably, Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, had on Sunday, said that the accident “happened due to a change in electronic interlocking.” The investigation in the matter is underway, and hence with the information that is publicly available, there is no grounds to claim that the incident was a result of sabotage by “Rohingya, Bangladeshi, Manipur or ISI.”

Furthermore, we found  the viral image shared to show the “absconding” Station Master in a blog titled “Kottavalasa Kirandul KK Line.” It detailed the author’s visit to the Kottavalasa Kirandul KK line in March 2004. However, we could not find other details about the photograph. 

Also Read: Old Video From Hyderabad Shared To Show CCTV Footage Of Train Accident In Odisha

Conclusion

Viral post claiming that a station master named Sharif has been absconding since the multi-train collision in Odisha’s Balasore is false. 

Result: False

Sources
Report By Odisha Bhaskar, Dated June 5, 2023
Report By India Today, Dated June 5, 2023
Report By Times Of India, Dated June 5, 2023
Telephonic Conversation With South Eastern Railways CPRO Aditya Kumar Chaudhary On June 6, 2023


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Authors

Vasudha noticed the growing problem of mis/disinformation online after studying New Media at ACJ in Chennai and became interested in separating facts from fiction. She is interested in learning how global issues affect individuals on a micro level. Before joining Newschecker’s English team, she was working with Latestly.

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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