An image of a woman dressed in barbed wires and metal sheets is viral on Facebook and Twitter with the claim that she is protesting against increasing rape incidents in India. This image is shared in the backdrop of uproar against the alleged gang-rape of a 19-year-old Dalit woman in Hathras who succumbed on September 29.

The viral text associated with this image reads in Hindi, “This picture is a slap on the face of the #Prime Minister and #BJP government. Its echo will be heard by the whole world except for BJP leaders. In lieu of increasing rape incidents in India, this woman is conveying the message that women aren’t safe under the BJP’s government by wrapping her entire body with barbed wire.”

(Translated from “ये तस्वीर #प्रधानमंत्री और #भाजपा सरकार को तमाचा है जिस की गुंज पुरे विश्व को सुनाई देगी #भाजपाइयों को छोड़कर पुरे भारत मे बढ़ते बलात्कार की घटनाओं को लेकर इस महिला ने अपने पुरे जिस्म को काटेंदार तार से लपेटकर ये संदेश दिया है कि भाजपा की सरकार मे महिला सुरक्षित नही है”)

Twitter user @nayak1news posted the viral image along with Hindi text.

Similarly, multiple Facebook users posted the viral image with the same claim.

Old image from Sri Lanka

Alt News performed a reverse image search on Google and found that the photograph was published on April 6, 2015, on a blog that talks about Colombo International Theater Festival which was held at the German Cultural Center.

A subsequent keyword search on Google revealed that the viral image shows an art performance by Sri Lanka-based Janani Cooray. In 2016, Roar Media wrote, “She walked across in constrained, robotic movements, the creaks of the metal jarring our aural senses as her physical movements jarred our sense of mobility.” The article includes an image of Cooray’s dress. It has been credited to Malaka MP from Goethe-Institut, Sri Lanka.

Janani Cooray has a website in her name which carries a similar picture.

A video of her street performance “Osariya” is also available on Cooray’s YouTube channel.

Photograph of a Sri Lanka-based artist is viral as Indian woman covered herself in barbed wires to protest against a growing number of rape cases in India.


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🙏 Blessed to have worked as a fact-checking journalist from November 2019 to February 2023.