As photos surfaced online of Jamia Millia Islamia student Shadab Farooq, who was injured by a teenage shooter near the university on Thursday, a picture of circling a red plastic object went viral later in the day with conspiracy theories floating that Farooq faked his injury.
A gunman shot at students, who had gathered to protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), on January 30, 2020. Farooq, who suffered an injury to his left arm was discharged on Friday morning from the All India Institute of Medical Science Trauma Centre in Delhi. The identity of the gunman has not been revealed in accordance with Indian law as he is a minor.
The brazen attack that took place a few feet away from Delhi Police personnel who were present in large numbers at the scene has shocked the nation but has also seen a polarized reaction online with the right wing sympathizing with the shooter and police.
The viral image circulating on social media shows an injured Farooq being helped by a woman and a red plastic object circled in the frame.
Several social media users have shared the photo with false captions that raise suspicion whether the attack was staged and if Farooq was faking being injured.
Filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri, who has about two lakh twenty thousand followers tweeted the viral photo falsely claiming that it was ketchup bottle. BOOM has fact-checked misinformation shared by Agnihotri on several occassions.
ऐसा कैसे है की जिसे गोली लगी उसे कोई देख भी नहीं रहा, सब अपने अपने रोल निभा रहे हैं।— Vivek Ranjan Agnihotri (@vivekagnihotri) January 31, 2020
कम से कम कोई तो होगा जिसका कुदरती केच अप बॉटल देख के मन ललचाया होगा। pic.twitter.com/Xxhobi3dzq
दोस्तों, इस कुदरती केच अप बोतल के बारे में कुछ पता चला?— Vivek Ranjan Agnihotri (@vivekagnihotri) January 31, 2020
इतना ही पता चल जाए कौन से अस्पताल में पट्टी बंधी? क्या गोली हाथ को छू के निकली बिना ज़ख्म?
क्या कोई बताएगा की सत्य क्या है? pic.twitter.com/OqMN4ww2I8
Portable bottle with blood transfer ability https://t.co/xPBoCi3fUR— Rahul Roushan (@rahulroushan) January 30, 2020
BOOM contacted Mohammad Meharban, a photo journalist who had taken photographs after Farooq was shot. We analysed and confirmed that the object is a red water bottle and not a ketchup dispenser as being claimed.
In both these photographs, one can clearly spot the red bottle hanging, especially in the second photograph, one can see that a mobile phone and the bottle are being held together by Farooq's friend.
"My red water bottle": Midhat Samra, JMI student with injured Farooq
We contacted Midhat Samra, the JMI student who can bee seen gripping Farooq, in the viral photograph. Samra confirmed to BOOM that the bottle in the picture is her's.
"That is my red water bottle which can be seen in the photos," Midhat Samra told BOOM.
She stated the the sequence of event before the firing.
"A person came running and there was a pistol in his hand, as he was shouting something and everybody was running towards him shouting that he has a pistol in his hand. So what Shadab did is he ran and tried to calm him down saying, "Pistol niche kar lo" (put down your pistol)."
"When he told him to put his pistol down the third time, the shooter fired. After I heard the noise I ran towards him (Farooq) and held him and started running towards Holy Family (hospital) as I shouted to the police to remove the barricades. The police did not remove the barricades and Shadab had to show his injured hand showing that he is hurt after which the police asked him to jump the barricade, after which he jumped and went to Holy Family."
Samra's account is corroborated by pictures on social media, which show a wounded Shadab Farooq climb over the barricade and Samra who can be seen holding the bottle follow behind.
The fact that @DelhiPolice didn't even bother to open the barricade for the injured says a LOT about their seriousness and how law and order is nothing but a JOKE to them!— Khyati Singh (@JustKhyati) January 30, 2020
Samra also sent BOOM a picture of her water bottle which matches the bottle in the viral photo and confirms that it was not a ketchup dispenser as being falsely claimed online.