Rumours of kidnapping gangs on the prowl have been circulating widely on social media and messaging platforms over the past two months. A variant of these rumours claims that these gangs are involved in the organ trafficking business: they are said to abduct children in order to harvest their organs.
An incendiary audio clip has also been doing the rounds with, the message delivered in Hindi by a male voice. “The Tamil Nadu police found bodies of children inside a container,” it says. “Internal organs were removed from their bodies, like kidney and liver. Tamil Nadu police has said these children were abducted from various countries and brought here. Note: Take care of your children. Send this message to every group. Spread this photograph so much that this dog is caught. Who does not circulate this is not his/mother’s child. Send this to as many groups- 1, 2, 3, 4, or 25. This rascal must be caught.”
Alt News is not posting the audio clip here owing to its provocative nature and scope for misuse. It has been shared along with a photograph showing bodies of children lying on the ground.
Several Alt News readers have requested verification of this image and the claim.
There are two aspects of the claim: the audio message and the photograph circulated along with it. Alt News had fact-checked this message earlier, when it was shared with the same photograph with which it has been circulated now. There is no truth to this claim. It is a rumour that has been circulating online since at least early 2017.
Alt News reverse-searched the image on Google and found that it pertained to a chemical attack in Ghouta, Syria, in August 2013 during the Syrian civil war, after the suburbs of Damascus were targeted with rockets containing the chemical agent Sarin.
Alt News found the same photo in a blog from 2013.
The American fact-checking website Snopes had fact-checked this photo in 2016, when it was being shared with the false narrative of organ trafficking in Thailand.
This article first appeared on Alt News.