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Coronavirus: Congress leader and ‘friendly journalists’ spread fake news that Assam Medical College healthcare workers have to wear plastic due to lack of protective gear

However, all their lies were called out by Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma.

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OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

Congress leader Harjit Bhatti, who is a doctor by qualification, on Monday took to Twitter to claim that healthcare workers in Assam Medical College are “forced” to cover themselves in plastic bags. He claimed that these plastic bags are the ones which are used to carry biomedical waste. He alleged that there is shortage of personal protection equipments (PPEs) in Assam Medical College.

Now deleted tweet of Dr Harjit Bhatti, Congress leader

His allegations were further spread by the usual suspects.

Vinod Kapri’s now deleted tweet

Filmmaker-journalist Vinod Kapri, who regularly indulges in spreading fake news, too joined in. Not to leave a chance to pounce on PM Modi even amidst a crisis, other ‘journalists’ took Bhatti’s tweet on face value, like they always do.

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Similar news were shared by other ‘influencers’ with huge following on Twitter.

Joydas tweet liked by Mohammad Zubair

The tweet was liked by AltNews co-founder Mohammad Zubair (we are yet to see a fact-check on the same on AltNews).

‘Journalist’ associated with leftist propaganda website The Wire, too, shared Joydas’ unverified claims, which he later deleted without explanation.

Similar claims were made by Congress social media convener.

However, all their lies were called out by Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma.

Calling the tweet of Congress leader Harjit Bhatti as ‘highly motivated’, Sarma clarified that the government has supplied good number of PPE kits in past three days. Sarma also informed that the police has been asked to register an FIR against Bhatti and investigate.

Read: Newslaundry quotes doctor to say JNU ABVP students received only “superficial” injuries. They lied: Here is the truth

Following Sarma’s clarification, Bhatti, Kapri and Joydas quietly deleted their tweets while Patel continues to put it on his timeline, perhaps because like their leader Shashi Tharoor, retweets are more important than facts during the time of crisis.

Meanwhile, Bhatti has tweeted another tweet with same image, claiming that he got calls from Assam Medical College and that they do have PPEs, but the plastic suit was ‘tested’ to be used should a shortage occur.

Again, there is no basis for these claims.

Who is Dr Harjit Bhatti

Dr Harjit Singh Bhatti is the National Convenor of the All India Medical Cell of the Congress party. In February last year, he was appointed to the post in the Congress party. Not just the Congress party, he is also close with the Bhim Army. He claims to the doctor of Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad and has been very vocal in demanding medical care for Azad who currently out on bail, claiming that he is extremely unwell. He is not just a healthcare provider for Azad, but also a supporter, as he has been seen posting tweets with the hashtag #AzaadiForAzad.

From as far back as 2017, the media has been publishing comments by Dr Bhatti without any indication of his political affiliation. In fact, this phenomenon has continued well into 2020, almost a year after he became a post-holder in the Congress party. Media houses continue to quote him without disclosing his political affiliations and the official post he holds within Congress.

Bhatti’s quotes have been extensively used by media by identifying him as AIIMS doctor. Following violence perpetrated by leftist students on JNU campus early in January, Bhatti had claimed he was treating the students at AIIMS. In fact, Newslaundry introduced Bhatti as the former president of the Resident Doctors’ Association at AIIMS, and said that he was at AIIMS when injured students from JNU were brought there. However, the fact is that Bhatti is not a doctor associated with AIIMS. The Alumni page of AIIMS says that he is working at Manipal Hospital in Delhi. But the website of the hospital lists no doctor by that name. Moreover, when defence analyst Abhijit Iyer-Mitra called the hospital, he was informed that they have no doctor by that name.

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