An 11-year old girl was found dead with more than 80 injury marks on her body in Surat. According to reports, she was raped and tortured before she was strangulated. This news came close on the heels of the public outrage over the Kathua and Unnao rape cases. It is now being claimed by some sections on social media that an ABVP activist is behind the rape and murder of this child. ABVP is the student organisation affiliated to the Sangh parivar.
A website called www.dailygraph.in was one of the first to post this information on April 14. This article mentioned one Harish Thakur as responsible for the rape and murder. The article was later edited and this detail was removed.
The message below has been posted on the Facebook page by the name of AIMIM which has more than 268,000 followers. It is a fan page and not the official page of AIMIM. This message which was posted on April 14 claims that Harish Thakur, an ABVP activist is responsible for the rape and murder of the 11-year old girl in Surat. At the time of writing, this post was shared more than 500 times.
आक थू हिन्दू राष्ट्र!
एबीवीपी का नेता है हरीश ठाकुर 11 वर्ष की बच्ची को अगवा करके…
On Twitter, this message was retweeted by Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal which was pointed out by a Twitter user Gujju_er. The original tweet by the Twitter user @YUVAMARWADI that was retweeted by the Delhi CM was later deleted. Apart from Kejriwal, this message was also retweeted by AAP leaders Alka Lamba and Dilip Pandey, and RJD leader Misa Bharti. It was also posted on Facebook by the page Aam Aadmi Party- Deoria on April 14, and has been shared more than 5000 times.
This claim that the rape and murder was the handiwork of an ABVP activist named Harish Thakur is false. This was confirmed by Surat police in a reply to a tweet by a user named Irfan Anjum who was among those who made this claim. Anjum has also been booked along with two others under Section 505(1) of the IPC for spreading rumours on social media.
Moreover, Surat police in a tweet has solicited information from the public on the case. The tweet mentions that the body of the girl was found near the cricket ground in Surat on April 6, 2018. The police has sought information on the family of the girl and the perpetrator of the crime.
दिनाक ०६/०४/२०१८ को सुरत शहेर मे क्रीकेट ग्राउन्ड के करीब एक लडकी की लाश मिली हे ,इस लडकी के परीवार के बारे मे या अपराधी के बारे मे कोइ भी जानकारी मीले तो सूरत शहर अपराध शाखा के नंबर 02612436024 पर या पांडेसरा थाना के नंबर 02612890200 पर संपर्क करे. इनाम प्रदान कीया जायेगा. pic.twitter.com/gjZGvemamx
— Surat City Police (@CP_SuratCity) April 15, 2018
Alt News tried to establish the source of claims vis-a-vis Harish Thakur and stumbled upon an article by Amar Ujala dated March 19, 2018. This article had mentioned one Harish Thakur who is allegedly an ABVP worker as the accused in the rape and murder of a minor in Agra, which is probably the source of this misinformation.
The incidents of Kathua and Unnao have resulted in an outpouring of anger against the ruling dispensation for the perceived laxity and lack of sensitivity in handling these cases. However, this does not justify spreading rumours on social media, as the police is still investigating the case and there is no information so far on the involvement of an ABVP activist in this horrific case from Surat.
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