As the family of the 85-year-old RSS Swayamsevak Narayan Dhabadkar mourns his death, some seem to have taken it upon themselves to dismiss his sacrifice as ‘fake news’. Narayan Dhabadkar, an 85-year old COVID positive patient from Nagpur had given up his bed and thereby his life for another COVID positive person who was in his 40s. He chose to embrace death so that another younger person can live.
As the story of Dhabadkar Kaka’s, as he was fondly known as, sacrifice went viral on social media, a Marathi media publication was seen desperate to rubbish his family’s claim.
Based on sources who contacted the wrong hospital for information, Loksatta quickly ran a fact-check piece falsifying Dhabadkar Kaka’s story.
Loksatta’s alleged fact-check is based on a so-called social activist from Pune Shivram Thaware’s interaction with Ajay Prasad, Superintendent of Indira Gandhi Hospital, Nagpur. The Indira Gandhi Hospital had informed they had no patient by the name Narayan Dhabadkar admitted to their hospital. It is not clear whether the ‘social activist’ contacted Indira Gandhi Rugnalaya run by Nagpur Municipal Corporation where Narayan Dhabadkar was admitted or Indira Gandhi Government Hospital run by the Maharashtra Government, where he was obviously not admitted as a patient.
Dhabadkar Kaka’s bereaved daughter released a video setting the record straight.
In a video shared by columnist Shefali Vaidya, Asawaree Dabhadkar, Narayan Dabhadkar’s daughter said that he was being treated at Indira Gandhi Municipal Hospital and his condition was worsening by the day. The doctors had informed him about his deteriorating condition. While being treated, he heard the chaos of people looking for a bed for their loved ones. That is when Dhabadkar Kaka decided to vacate his bed citing he has already lived a full life and the bed occupied by him at any hospital could rather be used for someone else.
Sick of @LoksattaLive and @girishkuber to publish a fake story disparaging #NarayanDabhadkar kaka’s sacrifice based on a convo with a doctor fm Indira Gandhi Medical College, when the patient was admitted to Indira Gandhi Municipal Hospital. Asawaree Dabhadkar gives a statement. pic.twitter.com/rWJpsJdFHX— Shefali Vaidya. (@ShefVaidya) April 29, 2021
Asawaree Dhabadkar moved to tears by the end of the video.
What the hospital authorities had to say
Dhabadkar Kaka’s admission at Indira Gandhi Rugnalaya was later verified. Giving a statement to the Indian Express Sheelu Chimurkar, the doctor incharge at the Indira Gandhi Rugnalaya, a hospital run by Nagpur Municipal Corporation informed, “Dabhadkar was admitted at 5.55 pm on April 22 and we had put him on an oxygenated bed in the casualty ward. We told the relatives accompanying him that he will have to be moved to a higher hospital in case his condition deteriorates. They agreed and left. They returned at 7.55 pm and sought his discharge. We don’t know the reason but advised them that he should be taken to a higher hospital. After his son-in-law Amol Pachpor signed the consent letter, we gave him discharge against medical advice.”
The Indian Express’s report too was laced with doubt and suspicion over the claims despite interacting with the hospital authorities and heckling Dhabadkar’s Kaka grandson-in-law for a statement who is also battling the Covid-19 virus.