On January 21, several social media users posted a video of a man stripped naked in public and thrashed by a group of women. As per the social media posts, the man tried to rape a 5-year-old. Twitter user @cbpunjabi tweeted, “(TTC News) In Ambala’s Jain market, a Muslim tried to rape a 5-year-old girl. The women of the locality caught the man and paraded him naked. Strict legal action should be taken against men with such disgusting thoughts.” The tweet was retweeted over 2,000 times.

[Translated from (TTC न्यूज़)अंबाला शहर के जैन बाजार में एक मुल्ले ने 5 साल की लड़की से रेप करने की कोशिश की जिसमें वहां की महिलाओं ने पकड़ कर उसको नंगा करके घुमाया ऐसे घिनौनी सोच वाले व्यक्ति के खिलाफ सख्त से सख्त कानूनी कार्रवाई होनी चाहिए।”]

Several social media users posted the viral video on Twitter and Facebook, blaming a Muslim man for the alleged crime.

True incident, false communal narrative

Alt News performed a keyword search on Google and found a report by Times of India published on January 20, 2020, along with the viral video. “Ambala: Eve-teaser paraded naked, thrashed by relatives of minor girls,” reads the title.

According to the report, perpetrator Pawan alias Sonu was thrashed by family members of three minor girls and locals. The city police booked Pawan under Section 12 (punishment for sexual harassment) of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act and Section 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). [The report erroneous refers to Section 506 as 56.]

Sunita Dhaka of Women Police Station Ambala, Chandigarh, informed Alt News, “I made the arrest and I confirm, no one was raped in this incident and the accused is not a Muslim. An FIR has been registered under Section 12 of POCSO and Section 506 of IPC.”

Dhaka added, “Pawan followed and indecently exposed to three girls when they walked back home after school. The youngest girl refused to go to school on January 20 because her classes were going get over early, as a result, she would have to return home alone. Eventually, the girl told her mother about Pawan and the mother along with her friends decided to follow her daughter on her away. They caught Pawan and the rest in can be seen in the video.”

The viral video is being circulated with false narratives which amplify the crime and falsely identify the perpetrator as a Muslim.

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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.