Many mainstream media outlets published an image of a grave closed with a padlock with the claim that it shows Pakistani parents locking the grave of their daughter to avoid her corpse falling prey to necrophilia.
BOOM found this claim to be false; we found that the grave in the viral image is located at Masjid E Salar Mulk in Darab Jung Colony, Hyderabad, India, and does not show an instance of parents in Pakistan locking their daughter's grave to protect against necrophilia.
We spoke to a local resident and the caretaker of the graveyard, who confirmed to us that the grave in the viral image is indeed from Hyderabad, and that the grill had been added to prevent people from grave grabbing, or reusing the graves of their family members for burial.
The image of the locked grave initially became viral after it was shared by Twitter user Harris Sultan, who shared it with the caption, "Pakistan has created such a horny, sexually frustrated society that people are now putting padlocks on the graves of their daughters to prevent them from getting raped. When you link the burqa with rape, it follows you to the grave."
The tweet has since been deleted by the user, but you can click here to view an archive.
This claim made in the tweet was picked up by Pakistani news outlet Daily Times, who mentioned the case of padlocked graves to talk about violence against women and rising cases of necrophilia in Pakistan, but did not add the viral image. The article also states that there is a 'rise in necrophilia' in Pakistan, but does not provide evidence to back up the claim.
This was soon picked up by multiple news outlets in India, who carried Sultan's tweet and the Daily Times article as a news report, without verifying the authenticity of the claim.
News agency ANI soon picked up the image of the locked grave, and ran it as a story on rising cases of necrophilia in Pakistan, which was then republished by many news outlets. Others to run the unverified claim were Wion, Zee News, Times of India, Mirror Now, India TV, NDTV, Amar Ujala, Hindustan Times, The Print, DNA, OpIndia Hindi, ABP News, News24, Dainik Jagran and Firstpost.
BOOM did a keyword search with "girls locked grave Pakistan" along with a reverse image search, but was unable to find any other news report from Pakistani media that independently verified the allegations of necrophilia.
While combing through user replies to the original tweet by user Harris Sultan we found several users doubting the authenticity of the claim and provide counter narratives to locking a grave. Some users claimed that the lock was used to stop desecration of graves by others.
BOOM also spoke to Pakistani reporters who were unable to provide us any account of parents locking a grave of a daughter to prevent necrophilia. However, we were told it is not unusual to lock a grave either to reserve a spot or protect it from being used for burial.
Looking through the reverse image search results, we found a tweet by user @Gabbar0099 that contained images of the same grave with the green metal grill. The user stated that it is located in Hyderabad, India.
Looking through the responses to this tweet, we found a reply by a user named Syed Salman who claimed that the grave is next to a mosque named Salaar-e-Mulk at Darab Jung Colony in Hyderabad.
We located the mosque on Google Maps, and used Google Street View to get a front view of the mosque. We were able to find the same grave with the green metal grill right seen in the viral image, right at the entrance.
AIMIM leader Waris Pathan also shared a video taken at the same grave, with a graveyard official explaining the reason behind the padlock on the metal grill.
According to the official's comments, the padlock was put by family members of the dead to prevent others from further burying in the same grave.
Another individual posted a video of himself visiting the grave, and claimed that the viral photo was taken by him, and that the grave belongs to the mother of his friend who was an old lady. In the video, he further states that the graveyard is in Hyderabad in India, and refutes the claims of necrophilia shared by media outlets.
BOOM spoke to a local resident of Darab Jung Colony who also identified the mosque seen in the images as Masjid E Salar Mulk, and claimed to have lived next to it for over 50 years.
Upon our request, he visited the graveyard and sent us photos of the grave in question along with the caretaker of the graveyard.
On the use of the metal grill, he said it has been put in place by people to prevent the graves of their family members from being reutilised by others for burial. "Graves are expensive, it can cost up to Rs. 15,000. So people sometimes reutilise grave sites for burial. They are called kabar (grave) grabbers. Such grills are used to protect against kabar grabbers."
BOOM also spoke to the caretaker of the graveyard, who stated that there has been no instance of necrophilia ever reported at the graveyard.
The evidence suggest that the grave seen in the viral image is located in India, and not Pakistan, and has no link to cases of necrophilia.
This was previously debunked by fact-checkers at Alt News.
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