A news report is currently being circulated widely by some sections on social media. According to this report, a 14-year old girl was raped inside a mosque by a cleric and a shopkeeper in Moradabad, Uttar Pradesh. The report states that the mosque falls under the Bhagwatpur police station area. This news report has been published by some websites such as www.newsbytesapp.com, www.mijaaj.com and www.gnsnews.co.in. NewsbytesApp was the first to publish this article, although it was later deleted. A copy of the NewsbytesApp article was put out by Yahoo News and it was quoted extensively on social media. These reports were published on April 14, 2018.
This report is being shared widely on social media. On Twitter, it was shared by right-wing users, who asked why this incident is being ignored by mainstream media organisations, with an obvious reference to the outrage over the gruesome incident in Kathua, J&K.
Islamic cleric Nazir and shopkeeper Mohsin rape a 14 year old minor girl INSIDE a mosque. After calling the innocent girl inside on the pretext of cleaning the room, they overpowered her and committed the heinous crime! Why no outrage in MSM? Cc – @Nidhihttps://t.co/I0kYsuWSby
— Shubhrastha (@Shubhrastha) April 16, 2018
This news was shared by Prasanna Vishwanathan, who is the CEO of the right-wing magazine Swarajya who tweeted that cleric Nazir and shopkeeper Mohsin who allegedly committed the crime are absconding.
Uttar Pradesh: Cleric rapes 14-year-old girl inside mosque premises. Cleric Nazir and shopkeeper Mohsin, are absconding and the police are putting in efforts to arrest them. https://t.co/WLUeFmZcNk
— Prasanna Viswanathan (@prasannavishy) April 15, 2018
Filmmaker Ashoke Pandit was among those who tweeted about it, as did those who are followed on Twitter by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Each of these tweets was retweeted hundreds of times.
14-year-old girl raped inside the mosque by cleric Nazir and shopkeeper Mohsin in #Muradabad U.P.
“I Am Hindustan
I Am Ashamed
14 yrs old raped in a mosque”
— Ashoke Pandit (@ashokepandit) April 16, 2018
A shocking incident from Moradabad, UP !
14-year-old girl raped inside the mosque by cleric Nazir and shopkeeper Mohsin.
Can we have placard?
“I Am Hindustan
I Am Ashamed
14 yrs old raped in mosque”
— Sumit Katiyar (@iSKatiyar) April 16, 2018
Alt News fact checked this report and discovered that the said incident is not recent, but had in fact occurred in 2015. Indian Express had reported about this incident in August 2015.
Alt News also contacted Bhagwatpur police station, Moradabad where the complaint was reportedly lodged. Sanjay Tomar, Inspector, Bhagwatpur police station confirmed, “The case is of 2015. The case number is 237/15 and it was registered under section 376D of the IPC. It is not a recent incident”.
An old incident dating back to August 2015 was presented as a recent incident by some news websites, and this was picked up on social media by those who seek to rationalise the horrific incidents of Kathua and Unnao. Resorting to whataboutery and alleging bias in coverage by mainstream media, a false narrative is sought to be created and perpetuated by these sections through this attempt to mislead the people.
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