Fact Check: Viral List Claiming 43 Aligarh Muslim University Professors Succumbed To COVID-19 Is Misleading

Amid the surge in COVID-19 cases and rising death toll, a ‘list’ has surfaced online claiming that 43 faculty members of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) have succumbed to COVID-19 in the last 20 days.

A Twitter user shared the list that has names of 43 professors saying that according to unverified sources, all professors mentioned in the list have succumbed to COVID-19. The user wrote, “Shocking! Aligarh Muslim University loses 16 serving faculty to Covid-19 In the last 20 days. According to an unverified list, the total number is 43.”

Following the tweet, several users on Facebook started sharing the same list.

Similar posts can be found here, here, and here.

FACT CHECK

NewsMobile fact-checked the viral post and found the claim to be misleading.

When NewsMobile reached out to AMU to verify the claim, the university called the viral list ‘misleading’ as it also includes names of faculty members residing outside Aligarh.

AMU’s Public Relation Officer, Omar Peerzada said, “The University is deeply concerned with the death of its faculty members, including Retired teachers and other employees. The list which is being circulated on social media includes the names of several retired faculty members who were residing outside Aligarh. Non-Covid deaths are also included in this list.”

The university also issued a clarification regarding this on their Facebook page.

In a rejoinder, the Chief Medical Superintendent (CMS) and Principal, Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College (JNMC), Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), Prof Shahid Ali Siddiqui said “AMU has been bereaved of 18 faculty members since the onset of second Covid wave, out of which 15 were either Covid or suspected Covid patients. Three patients have died because of non-Covid reasons such as Brain Tuberculosis and liver disease. And moreover, out of the 15 Covid or suspected Covid deaths, four have occurred outside Aligarh.”

“These social media posts have also wrongly mentioned that the retired faculty members who died in the past one month were all undergoing treatment at JNMC. We like to make it clear that many of these superannuated faculty members were not even in Aligarh at the time of their deaths,” Prof Siddiqui said.

On May 9, AMU Vice-Chancellor, Professor Tariq Mansoor wrote to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and urged the medical body to study the infection variant circulating around the university campus.

He stated in the letter: “This is to bring into your notice that 16 AMU faculty members, a number of retired teachers and employees in other categories, who were living in the university campus and adjoining localities have succumbed to Covid-19. This is giving rise to a suspicion that a particular viral variant may be circulating in the Civil Lines area of Aligarh in which AMU and many adjoining localities are situated.”

PRO AMU also informed that Vice-Chancellor has appealed to everyone to get themselves vaccinated. The vaccination drive at AMU is underway in full swing and our doctors are working day in day out to combat this pandemic, he added.

Media reports regarding the number of deaths and letters can be seen here, here and here.

Therefore, the viral list claiming 43 AMU professors succumbed to COVID-19 in the last 20 days is misleading.

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