No, Hyderabad rape accused are not minors given fictional Hindu identities by police

An article, published by a website named The Youth is being widely shared on social media. The title of the article while citing a statement by self-proclaimed saint Yati Narsinghanand Saraswati reads, “All accused of Hyderabad Rape were Muslims, police admit to change their names”. 

“Yati Narsinghanand Saraswati said that the name of three rapists has been changed to Hindu by police under the pretext of the minor. But the truth is that they all were Muslim”, stated the article published on December 4, 2019.

Multiple users on social media have shared the article with similar claims. Twitter user Jagadish Hiremut posted the article saying, “Can anyone confirm this story. If it is true then Hyderabad police & their political masters are bigger criminals”. 

Meena Das Narayan, a verified Twitter handle who claims to be the “Editor-in Chief of Gulf Connoisseur” and is followed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the platform, also posted the article. She tweeted, “Names changed by Police to hide religion of rapist”. The tweet has now been taken down. You can access the archived version here.

On December 2, Narsinghanand Saraswati claimed via a video that all the rape-accused in the Hyderabad rape case were minors, hence the names given by the police are “fictional”. He also added that all the accused are from the same religion. A post on Twitter from his handle, which includes the video, has amassed over 2,100 retweets so far.

In the video, an article by website Hinduexistence.org published on November 29, 2019, was cited as the source.

FALSE CLAIM

Alt News found that the claim about the police hiding the religious identity of the rape-accused because they were minors is false. In a press note issued by the Cyberabad police, the age of the all the four accused is mentioned. None of the accused is below 18.

The same was reiterated in a press briefing after the incident. The police identified the accused as – Pasha, 26-year-old lorry driver, Shiva and Naveen, 20-year-old lorry cleaners and Keshavulu, 20-year-old lorry driver.

Moreover, The Quint spoke with the families of all the four accused. The article identified Jollu Shiva’s father as Jollu Rajappa, Jollu Naveen’s mother as Laxmi (sister of Jollu Rajappa), Chintakunta Chennakeshavulu’s mother is Jayamma, and Mohammed alias Areef’s mother Molanbi.

Cyberabad police responded to a query on Twitter regarding Saraswati’s claim and dubbed it, “fake news”.

In conclusion, the claim that three of four accused in the Hyderabad rape case were Muslims and minors hence given fictional Hindu identities is false. Cyberabad has also called out the claim on Twitter.

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