A photo of a girl purportedly lying dead on the ground is being shared on social media with a false claim that it is Jyoti Kumari Paswan, the girl who cycled 1200km in just seven days, with her ailing father on the back, in order to reach her home in Bihar during the nationwide lockdown.
However, The Quint found out that the victim is being misidentified as Jyoti Kumari Paswan. The incident did happen in Bihar’s Patro village where a minor girl was found dead in an ex-army man’s orchard. The girl’s father in his statement has reportedly alleged that she was raped for stealing mangoes from the orchard that belonged to an ex-army man.
Baburam, Superintendent of Police, Darbhanga told The Quint that the post-mortem report says that the minor died of electrocution and suffocation. He further said that the report doesn’t show that she was raped, but the matter is still under investigation.
A collage of photo of a girl lying dead, along with two photos of ‘Cycle Girl’ Jyoti Kumari is going viral on social media with the hashtag #JusticeforJyoti. Many people shared the photo writing messages about the injustice and reminding others of the heroic nature of the feat the young girl had achieved in May 2020.
According to the claims doing the rounds on social media, the girl had been raped and murdered by an ex-army man, who was also named in some of the posts.
WHAT WE FOUND
On searching for news reports about the incident in Bihar, we found that a 13-year-old girl was murdered in Pator village on 2 July. Her body was reportedly recovered from the garden of a retired serviceman, Arjun Mishra.
Mishra’s wife has been arrested in connection with the case.
Babura, SP Darbhanga said that neither has the post-mortem report proved rape nor have they found anything in their investigation which hints towards rape.
What is clear is that this girl is not the same person as the girl who rose to fame because of her cycling feat but only happens to share the same name.
None of the news reports which spoke about the incident identified the dead girl as the cyclist. Moreover, we found that the verified page of the National Crime Investigation Bureau had taken to Facebook to bust the claims conflating the identities of the two young girls.
The post also said that the NCIB’s Darbhanga team had spoken to Kumari to confirm this and quoted her as saying, “I have received calls from many people, but I am fine. Preparing for a cycle trial right now. I don't even know Jyoti Kumari.”
Additionally, the post also attached a photo that Kumari had sent of herself from a few days ago, as evidence that she was very much alive and okay.
Therefore, it is clear that while there has been a death of a young girl by the name of Jyoti Kumari, it is not the same girl as the cycling hero. Two completely unrelated girls’ identities are being conflated on social media.
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