“डरावनी खबर – हिन्दू का कतल कर उनका मास खा रहे रोहिंग्या, मेवात का मामला, खबर विचलित कर सकती है Horrifying news – Rohingyas are killing Hindus and eating their flesh, a case from Mewat, this news may send shivers down your spine,” read the a published by fake news website Dainik Bharat on December 18. The article carried photographs depicting people dismembering bodies.
The Dainik Bharat article also included a Facebook post by an individual user who shared a newspaper clip from Aaj Tak Gurgaon. According to this clip, Rohingya refugees in Mewat, a Muslim dominated area of Haryana, were “eating the flesh of a Hindu youth’s body”.
Alt News found the online version of the same report, which read, “हिंदुओं का मांस खाने वालों को मिली मेवात में पनाह.” (Those who eat the flesh of Hindus have found refuge in Mewat). It must be noted that Aaj Tak Gurgaon is not a part of India Today’s Aaj Tak.
Delhi High Court lawyer Prashant Patel Umrao tweeted a similar claim, calling Mewat the “Mini Pakistan of Haryana”. Umrao has been caught spreading misinformation on numerous occasions. A compilation of such instances can be read here.
The real picture
Using Google’s reverse image search, a blog post written in October 2009 was found to be one of the earliest instances of the image appearing on the internet. According to the blog, this image is representative of a funeral ritual of the Tibetan people, who believe in donating their bodies to wild birds.
Moreover, Alt News found the same image posted by a Facebook page พระมหาไพรวัลย์ วรวณฺโณ (Phramaha Paiwan) on August 14, 2014, with an identical narrative. Another handle, @damnitbennnnnn_, also tweeted the same image, saying, “This is Tibetan people’s ‘sky burial’.”
Several YouTube videos of Tibetan funeral rites show bodies being chopped into pieces and fed to scavengers.
At 1.16 minutes in this video, corpses can be seen being decomposed by vultures. In the collage below, the two images on the left are cropped from the viral pictures, while the image on the right is from the video. These are juxtaposed to depict the presence of vultures in the ritual. This corroborates that the viral images portray Tibetan funeral rites and not “Rohingyas eating Hindus”.
The Tibetan sky burial is a traditional funeral custom and a type of excarnation or defleshing practice in Tibetan Buddhism. According to the custom, a human corpse is placed on a mountain, exposed to scavenging birds. An article published in 2017 by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation stated, “Tibetans see it as a last gift to the universe – a way to show the insignificance and the impermanence of our earthly lives.”
Aaj Tak Gurgaon published an unrelated image of a Tibetan funeral rite to suggest Rohingyas were eating the flesh of Hindus. Earlier this year too, a gory staged video was shared on Facebook and WhatsApp as Rohingya Muslims slaughtering and eating Hindus.
This article first appeared on Alt News.