A WhatsApp forward claims that Uttar Pradesh journalist Pragya Mishra was murdered in broad daylight for her critical reportage on Kumbh Mela amid a growing pandemic. Photographs of a woman lying dead on the road have been shared to promote the claim.
A few people have also shared CCTV footage of a man stabbing a woman.
The claim is also circulating without the pictures with Malayalam caption on Facebook. The post below has 4,600 shares.
Another Malayalam user’s post drew 2,100 shares. The viral message reads, “പ്രാഗ്യ മിശ്ര എന്ന പത്ര പ്രവർത്തക കൊല്ലപ്പെട്ടു. കുംഭ മേളയിൽ Covid മാനദണ്ഡങ്ങൾ പാലിക്കാത്തത് വിമർശിച്ചു കൊണ്ട് വാർത്ത ചെയ്തത് കാരണം.”
Pragya Mishra took to Twitter to debunk the rumours of her murder. “I am at home following COVID protocol. I am alive and safe. The rumours of my murder are false,” she wrote.
— Pragya Mishra (@PragyaLive) April 18, 2021
The photographs being shared pertain to an incident from Delhi. On April 10, India Today reported that a man named Harish Mehta attacked and killed his wife using a knife in Delhi’s Rohini area. He suspected his wife of having an ‘illegitimate relationship’. The deceased Neelu Mehta used to work at Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi. Harish stabbed his wife in front of a number of bystanders, many of whom were recording footage instead of saving her.
Dozens of media outlets including The Indian Express, The Hindu, and NDTV covered the incident. The Indian Express reported, “Neelu was rushed to Sanjay Gandhi Hospital but doctors declared her dead on arrival. The accused, who works at a marriage bureau, told police he recently got married to Neelu and wasn’t happy with her job at Safdarjung Hospital.” The outlet quoted DCP Tayal saying, “He suspected her of having an extramarital affair and was angry that she wasn’t leaving her job. The woman was living with her parents in Budhh Vihar. On Saturday around 2 pm, she was returning home from work when Mehta approached her and stabbed her multiple times on the road.”
Photographs of a woman murdered by his husband in Delhi have been falsely shared as journalist Pragya Mishra murdered in UP for her critical coverage of Kumbh Mela. The same images were earlier shared with the false claim that the murder was communally motivated.