A minor girl was reportedly gangraped and the incident filmed by the perpetrators in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh. According to a report by News 18 Hindi, the alleged perpetrators were apprehended by the public and handed over to the police when they were trying to escape after the victim called out for help.
On social media, the buzz is that the two accused in the incident are named Khalid and Irfan, and that they have been arrested. मंदसौर के बाद लखनऊ में नाबालिग बच्ची से दुष्कर्म… आरोपी खालिद और इरफान गिरफ्तार… वीडियो भी बनाई (After Mandsaur, minor girl raped in Lucknow. Accused Khalid and Irfan arrested… they also made a video- translation), says the message which is accompanied by a photograph of the alleged perpetrator and victim.
The reference is indirect but unmistakable- the attempt is to portray this crime as perpetrated by men of the minority community. Mandsaur is also mentioned in this message, alluding to the ghastly crime against a 7-year old in June 2018 by accused Irfan and Asif.
The post is lengthy, and searching the text took us to a website News Yojana, which claims to be a news website. It is from here that the entire text was lifted and posted on Facebook where it is now spreading as individual users are posting it.
The ‘news report’ by News Yojana is a complete fabrication. There is not a shred of truth in the claims floating on social media.
Accused not Muslim
The claim that the two accused in the case are Khalid and Irfan is a lie. One India has quoted SSP Lucknow, Deepak Kumar who stated that the two accused in the case are Bhola Chandrakar and Kushmesh Kanaujiya. He added that the perpetrators will be booked under the POCSO act and the victim has been sent for medical examination. According to reports, the accused Chandrakar hails from Chhattisgarh while Kanaujiya is from Sitapur district in UP. The duo was caught while trying to escape after the victim raised an alarm.
Old, unrelated images
The photographs circulating along with this message show an elderly man and a young girl who is seen covering her face with her hands. Alt News reverse searched these images on Google and found that neither of the photographs is recent.
The photograph of the man is of November 2017. The Indian Express had reported on November 24, 2017 that a “Muslim cleric and two of his relatives were allegedly assaulted by some unidentified persons on board a Delhi-Shamli passenger train, in Baghpat district” of Uttar Pradesh. The photograph is of one of the victims of the alleged assault.
The other photograph of the girl which has been circulated too is an old image, dating back to 2015. The girl is a rape victim who along with her family chose to break their silence about the incident. The girl’s name was changed and her face was hidden to protect her identity. This photograph, along with others are posted on the website of Getty Images.
Recently, we saw how the Mandsaur rape case was sought to be communalised in the vilest manner when a website published a false report which claimed that Muslims had rallied in support of the perpetrator, calling for his release, subsequently shared on various platforms. This instance is similar- a dubious website publishes a ‘news’ report with communal overtones which then goes on to infect the social media ecosystem. Such messages seek to pit one community against another and keep the pot simmering by regularly posting provocative misinformation.