On September 2, Star of Mysore, an evening newspaper from the city of Mysuru, reported that a 21-year-old engineering student, Apoorva Shetty, was found murdered in a private hotel on Hunsur Road in the city. As per the report, the victim was staying in the hotel with a man, believed to be her boyfriend, who allegedly killed her and then left the hotel alone. The report also mentions that the accused is a 28-year-old man called Ashik, who is allegedly a resident of Hinkal village.

Against this backdrop, Journalist Sagar Kumar of Sudarshan News tweeted a photo collage of the victim and the accused, which were available in the news report, and wrote a caption in Hindi that read, “My Abdul is not like others”.

His tweet implied that this was an interfaith relationship, as the accused had a Muslim-sounding name. Interfaith relationships between Hindu women and Muslim men are often termed “love jihad“, a conspiracy theory according to which Muslim men are trained to trap Hindu women and convert them.

Twitter user @RituRathaur shared the photo and wrote, “One thing is beyond my understanding, how does a well educated, nice looking Hindu girl fall for an ugly looking unemployed M guys?” This user’s caption also suggested that the accused was a Muslim.

Sharing the photo collage, Dr Syed Rizwan Ahmad, who claims to be a political analyst, wrote, “My Abul is not like others’. Some may not be, but most of them are like that.”

Another Twitter handle, @HKupdate also shared the collaged saying that another Hindu girl was murdered by her ‘ashique’.

The incident was also reported by Zee News, Times of India Malayalam, News18 Kannada, TV Kannada and Mathrubhumi. Except for the ones in News18 Kannda and TV9 Kannada, the rest of the reports named the accused as Ashik. These reports also do not mention his caste or religion.

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Fact-check

Alt News spoke to Mysuru DCP Pradeep Gunti (Law and Order), who told us that there was no communal angle to the case. We also reached out to Devaraja Police Station, where a senior officer confirmed to us that the name of the accused was Ashish, and not Ashik. He also confirmed that both the victim and the accused hail from the Hindu community.

Alt News got access to a copy of the FIR where the accused has been clearly named as “Ashish”.

Upon examining the details of the FIR, we found that the accused had booked the hotel on August 29 under the name Ashish. The victim last spoke with the family on August 30 and the body was discovered between August 31 and September 1. Nowhere in the FIR, it is mentioned that there was a communal angle to the case. Below, we have attached the relevant portion of the FIR which has been translated using Google Lens.

Alt News also spoke with the victim’s father, Ravish Kumar H T (53), who confirmed that the accused hailed from the Hindu community.

To sum it up, the murder of a 21-year-old engineering student in Mysore was given a communal spin on social media based on the misreporting that the name of the accused was Ashik. The police have refuted the communal angle and the name of the accused has been revealed to be Ashish. Both the victim and the accused hail from the Hindu community.

Sudharshan News and its employees have a history of spreading misinformation that has been documented by Alt News. The readers can find the related reports here.

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