An 11-year old girl was found dead with more than 80 injury marks on her body in Surat. According to reports, she was raped and tortured before she was strangulated. This news came close on the heels of the public outrage over the Kathua and Unnao rape cases.
It is now being claimed by some sections on social media that an Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) activist is behind the rape and murder of this child. ABVP is the student organisation affiliated to the RSS.
A website called www.dailygraph.in was the first to post this information on 14 April. This article mentioned one Harish Thakur was responsible for the rape and murder of the minor. The article was later edited and this detail was removed.
The message was been posted on the Facebook page by the name ‘AIMIM’ which has more than 268,000 followers. It is a fan page and not the official page of the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM).
This message, which was posted on 14 April, claims that Harish Thakur, an ABVP activist, is responsible for the rape and murder of the 11-year old in Surat. At the time of writing this article, the post was shared more than 500 times.
On Twitter, this message was retweeted by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, which was pointed out by Twitter user Gujju_er. The original tweet by Twitter user @YUVAMARWADI, that was retweeted by the Delhi CM, was later deleted.
Apart from Kejriwal, this message was also retweeted by AAP leaders Alka Lamba and Dilip Pandey and RJD leader Misa Bharti. It was also posted on Facebook by the page Aam Aadmi Party- Deoria on 14 April, and has been shared more than 5,000 times.
The claim that the rape and murder was the handiwork of an ABVP activist was false. This was confirmed by the Surat police in a reply to a tweet by a user named Irfan Anjum, who was among those who made this claim. Anjum has also been booked, along with two others, under Section 505(1) of the IPC for spreading rumours on social media.
Moreover, Surat police in a tweet has solicited information from the public on the case. The tweet mentions that the body of the girl was found near the cricket ground in Surat on 6 April. The police has sought information on the family of the girl and the perpetrator of the crime.
Alt News tried to establish the source of claims vis-a-vis Harish Thakur and stumbled upon an article by Amar Ujala dated 19 March 2018. This article had mentioned one Harish Thakur, who is allegedly an ABVP worker, as the accused in the rape and murder of a minor in Agra, which is probably the source of this misinformation.
The incidents of Kathua and Unnao have resulted in an outpouring of anger against the ruling dispensation for the perceived laxity and lack of sensitivity in handling these cases. However, this does not justify spreading rumours on social media, as the police is still investigating the case and there is no information so far on the involvement of an ABVP activist in this horrific case from Surat.
(The article has been published in an arrangement with Alt News)
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