A Twitter handle @Nationallist_Om which is a parody account of journalist Pushpendra Kulshrestha tweeted an alleged newspaper clipping. Its headline claimed that a Maulvi was arrested in a case of sexual exploitation after 52 girls were rescued from a Madrasa. The Twitter account accused the media of not covering the issue and diverting all its attention to Chinmayanand. BJP politician Chinmayanand was recently accused of rape by a law student from Uttar Pradesh. The woman was arrested by the Special Investigation Team after the politician filed a case of extortion against her.

The headline of the alleged clipping reads, “मदरसे में यौन शोषण, मौलवी गिरफ्तार 52 छात्राएं छुड़ाई गई .”

The same post has also been shared by many on Facebook. The complete message reads, “मीडिया को चिन्मयानंद से फुरसत मिल गयी हो तो ये खबर भी बताने का कष्ट करें। एक नहीं, दो नहीं, पूरे 52 लड़कियों का मामला है वो 8 से 18 की उम्र की। (If media has got any spare time from Chinmayanand, kindly take the effort of covering this news also. Not one, not two, but it’s a case involving 52 girls aged between 8 and 18.)”

The alleged newspaper clipping is viral on both Facebook and Twitter.

Old incident, photoshopped clipping

A careful glance at the clipping suggests that it has been altered. The word ‘मौलवी’ (Maulvi) does not have the same font as the rest of the words in the headline.

  1. The font is bigger. This is apparent in the image below where the alphabets of the word ‘मौलवी’ cross the red line.
  2. The matra or vowel sign ‘औ’ in ‘मौलवी’ does not match with the same sign used in the word ‘यौन’.
  3. Furthermore, a black border is present all along the top and bottom of the newspaper clipping is missing only above the word ‘मौलवी’.

Original report two years old

The strapline below the title of the alleged clipping reads, “यासीनगंज स्तिथ मदरसे में घिनौनी हरकत : छात्राओं को नारी निकेतन भेजा (Disgusting action in Yasingunj-based Madrasa : Girl students sent to women’s home.)” Upon searching for the same on Google, we found that this clipping represents a 2017 report published by Amar Ujala. As evident in the screenshot below, the headline does not say ‘मौलवी’ (Maulvi) but ‘मैनेजर’ (manager).

According to Amar Ujala, several girls were held hostage and sexually harassed in a madrasa in Yasinganj, Sadaatganj in Lucknow. The issue came to light after notes written by the girls, describing their ordeal, were found outside the Madrasa. The police were informed on December 29, 2017, after locals spotted the chits tossed by the girls from a window. 52 girls were rescued from the building and sent to a women’s home.

It further added that the madrasa’s manager Kari Taiyab Zia was arrested after the girls accused him of sexual exploitation, assault and torture. The madrasa was owned by religious master Syed Mohammad Jilani Ashraf, a resident of Hhadijatul Kubra Lil Banat Indiranagar, who left Zia in-charge. A family member of Ashraf also informed the police about the sexual exploitation.

The online version of the Amar Ujala report can be accessed here.

The issue was reported by other media outlets as well. The Indian Express published the statements given by accused Zia who blamed Ashraf for levelling false allegations.

A two-year-old newspaper clipping was photoshopped and shared on social media amidst allegations of rape on BJP politician Chinmayanand. While the incident represented in the clipping indeed took place, the police had arrested the manager of the madrasa and not a Maulvi.

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About the Author

Pooja Chaudhuri is a senior editor at Alt News.