A photograph of two transgenders seated in an auto-rickshaw, has resurfaced on the timelines of several Bangladeshi Facebook users with a message that falsely claims two organ harvesters are on the prowl.
The post, which has Bengali text urge people to be on the lookout for these two individuals.
The caption accompanying the post translates to,“They are a ‘new category’ of dacoits who walk into people’s homes and ask for a glass of water. And during that time if they realise that there are no men in the house, they attack the women, cut them and steal their kidneys.”
The post, which was shared by one Md Hassan in July 2018 has already been shared more than 8000 times. The most recent post is from January 14, 2019. BOOM found two other posts from January 2019, which may suggest the image is circulating once again.
The caption reads like colloquial Bangla spoken in Bangladesh.
(এদের কে চিনে রাকুন এরা নতুন ডাকাত এরা মানুষের বাড়িতে যাবে গিয়ে বলবে পানি খাবে খায়ে যদি দেখে বাড়িতে পুরুষ মানুষ নাই তাহলে বাড়ির মহিলাকে ধরে কাটে কিডনি নিয়ে যায় আর বিশেষ করে ওরা একা বাড়িতে হামলা করে আপনারা দয়া করে বেশি বেশি করে শিয়ার করে সবাইকে জানিয়ে দিবেন আর এদের কে কোন এলাকায় টুকতে দিবেন না)
This is not the first time the same image has been used to spread rumours online with life threatening consequences.
It went viral in different parts of India last year with messages that falsely claimed the transgenders were child kidnappers.
The photo first featured on Telugu website ‘teluguap2tg.com’ in May 2018.
The incident happened in the Mahbubnagar district of Telangana, in May last year, when villagers chased and beat these two transgenders thinking them to be abductors. Read the story here.
The image has also been debunked by Alt News in the past.
The photo is part of a chain of Whatsapp forwards, rumours and fake posts, which circulated in India in 2017 and 2018 leading to the deaths of over 30 people in separate mob lynching incidents.
The messages alleged that the child abductors not only kidnapped young children but also killed and harvested their organs.
Rumours of child kidnappers on the prowl across Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Odisha, Bihar and Gujarat were sparked by images and videos from unrelated incidents including a public safety ad from Pakistan that was maliciously edited. BOOM was the first website to debunk the video from Pakistan.