The Wire journalist Arfa Khanum Sherwani on Monday shared an SOS from a person called Shashank and said that he urgently required an oxygen cylinder for his friend’s Nanaji in Amethi. She provided contact details of Shashank to aid in the efforts.
Within 15 minutes, Amethi MP Smriti Irani took up the matter on priority and attempted to contact Shashank on the number provided. However, Smriti Irani said that Shashank was not receiving her call.
Smriti Irani said that she had called Shashank thrice but had received no response from the other hand. Nonetheless, she alerted Amethi Police and the District Magistrate of Amethi over the matter and asked them to provide help to the family.
Arfa Khanum Sherwani, after seeing Smriti Irani’s tweets, alerted one Ankit that the BJP MP was trying to reach them.
At 1 a.m., 29 minutes after he initial tweet, Arfa Khanum Sherwani informed that Shashank’s nanaji is no more. In her initial tweet, she had said that it was his friend’s nanaji.
DM Amethi investigated the matter and said that the person was treated by a private doctor and no test was performed to check if the patient was infected with Covid-19. He also said that the patient was not admitted to any medical facility.
उक्त प्रकरण में मुख्य चिकित्सा अधिकारी अमेठी की जांच रिपोर्ट। pic.twitter.com/Rg15yfto4r— DMAmethi (@DmAmethi) April 27, 2021
What OpIndia learnt from Shashank
OpIndia reached out to Shashank over the matter. Shashank denied knowing Arfa Khanum Sherwani and said that he had never said the things The Wire journalist claimed he did. We asked specifically whether he had told Sherwani, “Arfa ma’am could you pls share this. Can save my friend’s Nanaji’s life.”
Shashank said that he had not. “I do not know her,” is what we were told. “I don’t know who she is, she retweeted it but I don’t know how. Door door tak koi connection nahi hai mera.”
Shashank said that he had made the tweet at around 7.30 p.m.. According to his Twitter account, the tweet was made at 7.39 p.m. Shashank did say that efforts were made to contact him but that was after the nanaji had already passed away. Shashank said that the heart attack was sudden.
Shashank said that his tweets contained 14-15 words but they contained only 6 and was addressed to Sonu Sood.
What Amethi Police says about the Arfa Khanum Sherwani SOS
Amethi Police has now responded to the tweet by Shashank. They said, “When contacted immediately, it was learned that his cousin’s maternal grandfather was 88 years old, neither he had COVID nor was there any medical recommendation of oxygen. He died of a heart attack at 8 pm.”
तत्काल संपर्क किया तो जानकारी हुई कि इनके चचेरे भाई के नाना 88 वर्षीय थे, न उन्हें COVID था, न ऑक्सीजन की चिकित्सीय परामर्श थी। रात 8 बजे उनकी मृत्यु हार्ट अटैक से हुई। इस समय सोशल मीडिया पर इसप्रकार की समाज मे भय पैदा करने वाली पोस्ट डालना निन्दनीय ही नहीं, कानूनी अपराध भी है।— AMETHI POLICE (@amethipolice) April 27, 2021
“It is not only condemnable, but also a legal offense to post such fear-generating posts on social media at this time,” Amethi Police added.
When OpIndia tried to reach out to Shashank again over the statement from Amethi Police, his number was unreachable. Previously, OpIndia had called his number a short time after the first call for his comment on another person called Ankit who had made an SOS tweet at 8.49, 49 minutes after the death of the patient as per Amethi Police. Shashank had cut the call and did not receive it.
Arfa Khanum Sherwani’s SOS tweets were made well past midnight, more than four hours after the patient’s death.