‘Locked’ grave turns out to be in Hyderabad! Author Harris Sultan apologises after fact-check

The image was initially shared on Twitter by Sultan, who claimed the grave was in Pakistan. Several major Indian news outlets published it.

ByAjay Tomar

Published May 01, 2023 | 11:35 PMUpdatedMay 02, 2023 | 2:50 PM

Hyderabad grill-covered grave controversy Author Harris Sultan, who claimed it to be in Pakistan, apologises for misinformation

A few days ago, an image of a grave locked with an iron grille led to widespread misinformation and kicked off debates after going viral over social media.

The image was initially shared on Twitter by Harris Sultan, who claims to be an atheist and is ThesetheCurseLeft author of The Curse of God — Why I Left Islam.

He posted on social media that the grave showcased alleged necrophilia cases in Pakistan. He claimed that they were apparently “locked as parents in Pakistan wanted to save their dead daughters’ corpses from being raped”.

Several Indian news outlets picked up and reported his post without verification. Claims were made that the image was from Pakistan, referencing alleged cases of women’s corpses being raped in that country.

However, the claims were debunked by Indian fact-checking news portal Alt News, which reported that the locked grave was located in the Madannapet area of Hyderabad in Telangana.

And that the locked grille of the grave had nothing to do with necrophilia.

Harris Sultan apologises

Sultan, who is an Australian of Pakistani descent, subsequently posted an apology on social media. Not calling it an excuse, he said that his initial source of information was another Twitter handle.

“Thank you, @zoo_bear, for getting to the bottom of this. While this is not an excuse and I must apologize for the source of my initial information, which was from @SanamBalochfans,” he said, referring to Mohammed Zubair of Alt News.

The Twitter user (@SanamBalochfans) has now deleted the post, South First found.

Sultan, however, sought to defend himself for his error: “The reason why it (grave being in Pakistan) was believable is that necrophilia has become a serious issue in Pakistan. It is a disturbing reality, and I believe that people may start placing padlocks on the graves of their female loved ones.”

Posting screengrabs of the news reports, which highlighted the incidents where people were apparently accused of raping corpses of buried women in Pakistan, Sultan went on to say that his claim was not imaginary.

“My original tweet did not even attack Islam. My tweet was highlighting the nature of society that Pakistan’s segregationist policies have created,” he posted on social media.

Grave in Hyderabad, not Pakistan

The truth came out when a person in a video revealed that the locked grave was of his friend’s mother in the Madannapet area of the Old City in Hyderabad.

He said that he had seen the grave with the padlock at the graveyard in Madannapet last year and again visited the same place to post pictures and photographs on social media.

The 65-year-old Zaheen Begum, who passed away in 2020, was reportedly laid to rest there.

As the grave was located at the entrance of the cemetery, several people stepped on it while passing it. This resulted in family members of Zaheen Begum installing a grille in 2020.

The family members told reporters that people also littered the graveyard, which was another reason they had padlocked it.


Meanwhile, several major Indian news outlets published the unverified report from news agency ANI’s syndicated feed, which claimed that the grave was located in Pakistan and referred to the allegedly rising necrophilia cases there.

Robert Spencer, director of Jihad Watch — an American far right-wing, anti-Muslim conspiracy blog — also tweeted the image with the caption: “Pakistan: Parents padlock graves of deceased daughters to prevent necrophilia.”