Last month, severalTwitter and Facebookusers shared three images of a woman’s dead body found in a suitcase. The images are graphic, viewer discretion is advised. The viral text associated with the pictures states, “Once she used to live in a jihadi’s heart, today she is dead inside a suitcase. A secular girl became victim. Open your eyes or else you will keep dying in #LoveJihad.”

(Translated from कभी किसी #जेहादी के दिल मे बसने वाली आज अटैची में मर कर बस गई! एक सैकुलर हिन्दु लड़की शिकार हुई! अभी भी आँखें खोल वरना ऐसे मरती रहेगी! #LOVE_जेहाद में!)

The following tweets gained over 1,000 retweets — @DrAvnii, @AlkaShr72024579 and @UttamIND_.

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Similarly, several Facebook users posted these images. Facebook page Siv Se Santan shared the images along with a graphic that juxtaposes a still from a Tanishq ad featuring an interfaith couple and a photograph of a suitcase.

An advertisement by Tanishq featuring a baby shower of an interfaith couple sparked massive controversy in the month of October. The jewellery brand subsequently took down the commercial but that hardly prevented hoax ‘love jihad’ claims from floating online. Shefali Vaidya had also quote-tweeted the picture of a dead woman inside a suitcase along with a still from the ad.

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Ongoing investigation, no evidence of ‘love jihad’ yet

The incident was reported by Punjab Kesari and Dainik Bhaskar in October. As per the reports, the incident took place in Ding city of Haryana’s Sirsa district. Initial reports stated that the unidentified victim’s likely cause of death was strangulation.

Alt News spoke withDing police station head constable Pradeep Sharma. He informed, “The body has not been identified yet. The investigation is still on-going.” When we asked about a possible ‘love jihad’ angle, he said, “No evidence suggests inter-religious conflict.”

We also reached out to a Sirsa-based journalist who stated that the police have shared a WhatsApp message carrying two images in hopes of identifying the victim. The police’s message states that the victim is aged around 26-27 years. These are the same images circulating on social media. The journalist also said that no evidence suggests that the murder was communally-motivated.

On October 12, Chandigarh-based Khabrain Abhi Tak also reported the same. Sirsa’s Deputy superintendent of police Sanjay Kumar confirmed that there were strangulation marks on the dead body and added that the police is waiting for a postmortem report.

We spoke with the SHO at Ding police station on November 25. He said, “As per the post-mortem report, the victim was killed by strangulation. The victim is yet to be identified.”

The present facts do not establish the identity of the victim or the culprit. Social media claims that a Hindu woman was killed by a Muslim man are baseless. This is an ongoing investigation and our report will be updated once the police is able to uncover further information.

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About the Author

Archit is a graduate in English Literature from The MS University of Baroda. He also holds a post-graduation diploma in journalism from the Asian College of Journalism. Since then he has worked at Essel Group's English news channel at WION as a trainee journalist, at S3IDF as a fundraising & communications officer and at The Hindu as a reporter. At Alt News, he works as a fact-checking journalist.