Fact Check: Viral Post Claiming Death Of 17 Female Docs In Karnataka Bus Crash Is Misleading

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  1. Mahmoud Abudeif

    Mahmoud Abudeif Golden Member

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    A viral post on social media says 17 female professors from a Karnataka medical college succumbed to a fatal bus mishap on the Bengaluru-Pune highway. The post shared three pictures one of the mangled remains of a bus and two group photos with the claim.

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    The caption along with the pictures says, “RIP. 17 lady doctors all #gynaecologist professors of JJMM College Davengere, Karnataka going from Davengere to Goa on picnic trip died on spot on Bengaluru Pune highway when their minibus crashed with a sand laden tipper at DHARWAD at 7.30am on Friday.”

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    India Today Anti Fake News War Room (AFWA) has found the claim to be misleading. A group of 17 former students of St Paul’s Convent in Davanagere, Karnataka, were on a trip to Goa when their vehicle collided with a truck on Friday, January 15. Nine women, including a doctor, succumbed to injuries.

    The archived versions of similar posts can be seen here, here, here and here.

    AFWA probe

    Using reverse image search and appropriate keywords, we found that the viral pictures were carried along with news reports on the accident that took place on the Hubballi-Dharwad bypass road in Dharwad district of Karnataka. The women were schoolmates who were reuniting for their annual alumni trip.

    According to media reports, the 17 women were 1989 batchmates from St Paul’s School at Davanagere and only one among them was a doctor.

    According to a report by “The Indian Express”, the women were on a trip to Goa as part of an annual alumni meet when the minibus they were travelling in collided with a truck on the Hubballi-Dharwad bypass road in north Karnataka.

    Reports by “The New Indian Express” () and “The Times of India” also confirm that Dr Veena Prakash, who worked as a gynecologist at JJM Medical College at Davanagere was the only doctor in the group.

    We further reached out to P Krishnakant, Dharwad superintendent of police (rural), who confirmed that till January 18, nine women in the 17-member group had succumbed to injuries.

    “So far, 11 people have succumbed to the accident on January 15. Nine of them were women and they were part of the 17-member group. The claim that all of them were doctors is not true. There was just one doctor. They were former students of St Paul’s Convent at Davanagere,” Krishnakant clarified.

    We also spoke to Dr Prasanna Anaberu, Indian Medical Association’s Davanagere unit general secretary and a professor at the department of orthopedics in JJM Medical College.

    Rubbishing the viral claim on the death of 17 female doctors, Dr. Anaberu said, “Only one among the 17 women who were travelling in that bus was a doctor and she succumbed to injuries. Her name is Dr Veena Prakash and she was a professor at the gynecology department of JMM Medical College. There were two other women in that group, Usha Ram and Preeti Ravikumar, who were wives of doctors.”

    On January 15, as news broke of the fatal bus crash, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had tweeted, expressing grief over the incident.

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    Hence, it is clear that the viral claim saying 17 female doctors succumbed to their injuries in a road accident in Karnataka is misleading. The women were former classmates of Davanagere’s St Paul’s Convent School, and nine among them, including one doctor, died in the accident.

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    Last edited: Jan 22, 2021

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