Two photographs of an interfaith couple have been shared on social media with the claim that a ‘Hindu Jain girl’ was lured by a Muslim man in Nellore, Andhra Pradesh. It further adds that after the incident 550 Jain shops and factories decided to terminate all Muslim employees which left 1,800 Muslims jobless. As a result, the girl was returned to her family in nine hours. The text ends by pointing out what can be achieved when a community is united.

दक्षिण भारत में नेल्लोर में एक *शांतिदूत युवक* एक *जैन लड़की* को फुसलाकर भगा ले गया

सुबह यह वाकया पता लगा और फिर दोपहर…

Posted by Vande Mataram on Thursday, 28 October 2021

The story and the pictures have also been shared on Twitter.

A similar message was shared earlier in May. It alleged that 10,000 Muslims were fired by their Jain employers after the girl was “taken away”.

👏👏👏

Posted by Durga Menon on Wednesday, 19 May 2021

The story was massively widespread on Facebook.

In fact, the story has been doing the rounds on WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter since at least 2019.

FICTIONAL STORY

The first hint that the story is fictitious is the reference made to a ‘Hindu Jain girl’. Hinduism and Jainism are two distinct religions. Alt News had reached out to B. Srinivasa Reddy, PRO to Superintendent of Police, Nellore in 2019. He stated, “The claim made in the viral text is fabricated to create differences between two communities.” On December 28, 2019, Nellore police filed a rejoinder stating that the viral text is “totally false” and issued a warning that criminal cases will be filed against persons spreading or propagating such rumours.

Reddy further informed that as per their investigation “the messages we initially sent from Mumbai and Ahmedabad and so far no arrests have been made”. He added that a similar message was shared in August 2019 but in Hindi. It claimed 550 Jain traders fired 1,800 Muslim employees.

The complete message read in Hindi, “नेल्लोर में एक मुस्लिम ने जैन लड़की को फुसलाकर लेके गया सुबह को और दोपहर को समाज की बैठक हुई 550 जैन दुकानों से फैक्टरी से मुस्लिम को कह दिया तुम अभी से ही नोकरी से छुटी है थोड़ी देर बाद सब समाज ने एक के बाद एक जैन समाज को सपोर्ट दिया शाम तक 1800 मुसलमान की नोकरियों पे नोबत आ गई तो मुस्लिम समाज ने वो लडकी को उसके घर सही सलामत छोड़कर आये और मुस्लिम लड़को को कह दिया की गलती से भी हिन्दू लड़की को जैन लड़की को ना देखे ये होती है एकता की ताकत अभी भी कुछ थर्ड क्लास दयालु कृपालु कम दिमाग वाले सेक्युलर डरपोक अभी भी हमे सलाह दे रहे है की इनलोगो से झगड़ा मोल नही लेने का !!! अभी तो वक्त है ये लोगो ने हमे मौका दिया है एकजुटता दिखाने का”

Who is the couple in the photo?

A simple reverse image search reveals that wedding photos of an interfaith couple have been misused to support the false story.

According to ScoopWhoop, Faiz and Ankita met in IIM Indore. Ankita’s parents were worried about polygamy in Islam and that Faiz would be allowed to have four marriages. “To set their concerns at rest, Faiz decided to have four marriages, all of them with the one woman he loves. On 17th February [2017], Faiz and Ankita exchanged varmalas in a small Ram mandir at the foot of the Mahalaxmi temple. They then went on to have a court marriage under the Special Marriage Act which does not allow Muslims to marry four times…They married each other once again in a nikah, surrounded by friends and family [in Goa].” They also had another Hindu wedding in Goa.

Ankita wrote about their marriage in her own blog.

The claim that a Muslim boy abducted a Hindu girl who was returned only after the Jain community in Nellore, Andhra Pradesh terminated all Muslim employees is a fictitious tale. Nellore police have clarified that no such incident has taken place in the district and the viral message attempts to create communal differences. An interfaith couple’s wedding pictures from 2017 were used to further amplify the false story.

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About the Author

He joined as an intern in 2019. Until June 2022, his work primarily focused on fact-checking. Now his primary responsibilities include catalysing all aspects of organisational growth — from fundraising to development of new projects at Alt News. He attended the Asian College of Journalism (2015-16) and The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda (2012-2015). In past, he worked at The Hindu and Zee Media's WION.
Tipline Bling: archit@altnews.in