False claim that ‘Delhi university students faked injuries’ misleads online

Copyright AFP 2017-2022. All rights reserved.

After at least six students were hospitalised following clashes at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in Delhi, two photos were shared hundreds of times on social media alongside a claim it showed two left-leaning students had faked their injuries. This is false. The doctor who treated the two students at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) hospital told AFP that one student was treated for a severe head injury that required four stitches, while the other was treated after fainting.

“In 1st pic this girl is injured and [the girl] wearing blue top looks absolutely fine..in 2nd pic blue top girl is injured and other one is absolutely fine”, reads a tweet written in both English and Hindi-language that was shared here on April 10, 2022.

The tweet -- which has been retweeted more than 4,000 times -- goes on to say, “See the magic in JNU”.

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A screenshot of the misleading post taken on April 20, 2022


The insinuation that the injuries had been faked circulated after violent clashes between students at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) on April 10.

Indian daily The Hindustan Times reported that at least six students were injured at the university after a disagreement over the serving of non-vegetarian food at the Kaveri hostel during the Hindu festival of Ram Navami.

Students from left-wing groups accused members of the Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) --  a right-wing student organisation ideologically close to the ruling Bhartiya Janta Party -- of preventing non-vegetarian food from being served and beating up those who protested, the newspaper reported.

Members of the ABVP accused left-wing students of disrupting students who were holding an event to mark Ram Navami, according to the report, and the police received complaints from both sides.

Posts with similar claims that students had faked injuries were shared on Facebook here and here, and on Twitter here and here

However, the claims are false.

‘Severe head injury’

A keyword search found this article in the Business Standard, a New Delhi-based English-language newspaper, which identified the student pictured with blood on her forehead as Akhtarista Ansari.

Ansari told AFP on April 13 that she was injured during the clash at the university hostel, and showed AFP photos of her being treated at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) hospital in Delhi.

“I have a serious injury, and those who do not believe me should see my bruises and my medical report,” she said.

She attached a report from the hospital in a tweet on April 13, where she also hit back at the claims she had faked her injury.

“ABVP goons and puppet media houses are making false claims about my injury and saying that it was not blood but ketchup on my head. This is just outrageous. I was admitted to Hospital and got 4 stitches. I am also attaching my MLC report here,” the tweet reads.

"MLC report" refers to a medico-legal case.

In such a case, a report is typically issued by a hospital if the attending doctor believes it merits an investigation by a law enforcement agency.

The other student pictured in the misleading posts -- Madhurima Kundu -- also took to Twitter and Facebook to deny she had faked her injury.

Below is a screenshot comparison of the image in the misleading post (left) and the images shared by Kundu on Twitter (right):

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Kundu told AFP that she is the student pictured wearing the blue top in the misleading posts.

“We were protesting demanding our right to food when suddenly the people of ABVP attacked us. I fainted while another girl, Akhtarista, got a serious head injury,” she said.

Abid Nehvi, a doctor who treated Ansari at AIIMS, told AFP that the student was discharged from the hospital on April 11 after being admitted the night before.

“She was brought in at night when she had suffered a severe head injury and was bleeding. We admitted her to the emergency ward where she got four stitches.” Nehvi said. 

Nehvi also said that Kundu “was feeling very weak when she was brought to the hospital. She was given glucose and given some rest, after which her condition got better.”