Even amidst a pandemic, India’s left-leaning propagandists are missing no opportunity to further their political agendas.
Ravish Kumar, Abhisar Sharma and others have shared a photo of a Muslim man at a cremation site with the claim that he performed the cremation for a Hindu. “In Muzaffarnagar, Mohammed Yunus performed the last rites for Anubhav Sharma. The day you’ll realize the hypocrisy of religion, the walls of sand that divide us will disappear,” the caption with the photo said. Ravish Kumar shared this post writing “Think, understand, and wake up.” His post has been shared 12,000 times as of writing.
Youtuber Abhisar Sharma also shared the same photo with the exact same caption.
But an investigation by Swarajya journalist Swati Goel Sharma revealed that the picture that had been shared with a misleading claim. She spoke with Anubhav Sharma’s elder brother Sharad Sharma over the phone.
“I have performed the last rites of my brother with my own hands. People from my [Hindu] community, from my family, were all present,” Sharad Sharma said.
Sharma said that Mohammed Yunus works as a driver for the Sharma family’s business and was a friend of Anubhav. “He is my friend too and he was with us all the time, but the last rites were performed by me, in presence of my family and my community,” he said.
Sharad Sharma said that the picture shows Yunus adding a powder to the pyre. The powder is called “raal” in Hindi and is added so the pyre catches fire easily.
“Before Yunus, our panditji added 5 kg of raal, but nobody published panditji’s picture in the newspaper,” he said. “Anybody standing at the spot can add to the pyre. It’s a gesture of being together. There is no problem with that, but I repeat – it was I who performed the last rites of my brother.”
Additionally, Sharad Sharma revealed that his brother hadn’t even died of the coronavirus. “My brother did not die of corona,” he said. Sharma said that Anubhav had a sharp pain in his arms for about four-five days, which the doctors said was related to cervical. The family could not procure a hospital bed for him. “If my brother had corona, would the administration have given us permission to perform funeral rites like this?”
The initial claim had hinted that the Hindu family had been completely absent, and the cremation was performed by a Muslim man. This, the conversation revealed, was completely untrue — the Hindu family had performed the last rites, and a picture of the Muslim driver and friend of the deceased had been picked up with the viral claim. Anubhav Sharma’s family says it’s hurt and pained by the fake post. “See, friendship is one thing, but to present a gesture of friendship with claims that no one from his family came forward for the last rites is plain wrong,” the deceased’s brother said.