A social media user posted a screenshot of an article claiming that the youth belonging to a certain sect of Muslims were arrested by Lucknow police for spreading Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) by injecting the virus into watermelons and selling them to general public in majority-dominated area. He claimed that upon arrest of the culprits they admitted to the fact that the fruit was infected and they wanted to spread the disease.

(Screenshot from the Twitter post)
(Translation of the original text)

The same article was also widely shared on Facebook.

The headline of the news is, “AIDS infected were selling fruits by injection.”

It is written in the matter – Lucknow: (PEI Correspondent) Lucknow Police, on the basis of some secret information, caught boys of a particular sect standing on the roadside and selling watermelon and melon. After interrogation, the boys have admitted that they wanted to infect their customers with this disease by injecting HIV+ infected with AIDS in the fruits. They were selling the fruits mostly in majority-dominated areas. After taking some time to expose the conspiracy behind this by strict interrogation by the police, it has been decided to make any disclosure.

Debunked Source






Fact Check In order to investigate the matter, we searched the keywords “एड्स संक्रमित इंजेक्शन लगाकर बेच रहे थे फल”, but did not find such news from any major media outlet. Also, there is no such news on Dainik Bhaskar’s website. On searching Facebook, we found the viral screenshot shared by Facebook user Bittoo Jakhar. It was uploaded on 4th May, 2015. This implies that this screenshot has gone viral in the past as well,about seven years ago.

(Screenshot from Facebook post)

As per World Health Organization report HIV-AIDS cannot be transmitted through edible items.

(Screenshot from World Health Organization website)






Our research confirmed that the shared screenshot of a fake news is going viral on social media. Bhaskar News has neither run any such news, nor is this news available on any search engine. False news is being shared to trigger communal rift and misinformation about health.

ABCDE Framework-Based Analysis

Actor Religious extremists and their supporters on social media are involved in disseminating the misleading content on the world wide web.
BehaviorOld videos with misleading statements are posted by religious extremists to incite religious bigotry and spread more hatred against Muslims in the country through fake news. It is being portrayed that HIV/AIDS can be transmitted through edibles and Muslims are selling infected fruit to Hindus.
ContentFacebook posts, videos with misleading captions are posted.
DegreeMuslims who are minority in India, are especially prone to be targeted while remedying disinformation. Religious extremists have been organized to spread disinformation on social media.  
EffectDisinformation campaigns are created and run by religious extremists across the country targeting religious minorities which leads to hate speech, death threats and mob lynching incidents.

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