An image of a rape accused in police custody in Madhya Pradesh is doing the rounds on Facebook with several netizens misidentifying him as one of the accused in the alleged gang rape and murder of a Dalit woman in Hathras, Uttar Pradesh
The posts also feature an image where the accused pays tribute to former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi. Both the images are viral with the narrative that a Congress leader was arrested as one of the key conspirators in the alleged gang rape and assault of a Dalit woman in Hathras on September 14.
The woman succumbed to her injuries two weeks later in Delhi's Safdarjung Hospital. The brutal assault and the hushed up cremation of the victim in the wee hours of September 30 by the Uttar Pradesh Police had sparked a massive outrage.
The accused in the Hathras case has so far been identified as Ramu, Sandeep, his uncle Ravi and friend Luvkush. The four accused are in police custody.
Meanwhile, the accused seen in the viral posts was identified as Sikandar Khan from Madhya Pradesh, who was arrested on rape charges in September. BOOM reached out to Maqsood Ahmed, district president of Congress Committee, Satna, who clarified that the accused is not a member of the party.
The posts which are viral in English and Telugu have been captioned as, "Sameer Khan. Uttar Pradesh congress Leader .This guy has spoiled a Dalit woman.Do you want to counter or not". Click here for an archive of the post.
Below is one such post which is viral in Telugu. (Translation of the caption in English:" Sameer Khan and Congress leader caught by police in the recent rape case of a Dalit woman in Uttar Pradesh. Police have confirmed the accused in the case has been remanded for 15 days after he appeared in court. Now tell me who raped the Dalits! Till yesterday, those who used to post a lot of posts, now tell me, should we encounter them or not? Now keep the posts. Encounter this guy who spoiled a Dalit woman. No one will speak, no one will speak?!")
BOOM ran a reverse image search of the photo which shows Sikandar Khan in custody and was directed to a news article by Punjab Kesari's Madhya Pradesh bureau with the same image.
According to the article, Sikandar Khan, a local Congress leader, was arrested by Satna Police after a minor lodged a complaint against him for sexually exploiting her in September this year. The article further stated that the accused had initially befriended the minor on Facebook and later sexually exploited her on multiple occasions. The accused also blackmailed the girl by filming obscene videos of her.
According to a News 18 article, the man was arrested and booked under relevant sections of Prevention of Children against Sexual Offences (POCSO) and sent to police custody after he was produced in court, Superintendent of Police, Satna, Riyaz Iqbal said. The report further states that the man posed as a Congress leader and was seen in photographs with several Congress leaders.
In a press briefing, the police in Satna revealed that the accused was operating under four names – Ateeq, Sameer, Sikandar and Ginny Khan.
Accused's alleged link to the Congress questioned
It is not clear if Khan was affiliated to the Congress party as shown in the viral social media posts. BOOM reached out to Maqsood Ahmed, district president of Congress Committee, Satna, who distanced themselves from the accused. He said, "Sikandar Khan is not a leader, does not hold any post and is also not recognised as a party member of Congress. BJP tried to give the rape charges a communal twist by associating him with the Congress." On being asked why the accused's image can be seen along with Congress MLA Rajendra Kumar Singh from Madhya Pradesh, Ahmed said, "These posters were released by Sikandar Khan during Rajendra Kumar Singh's birthday and the Congress party is not responsible for any personal relationship they share."
Do you always want to share the authentic news with your friends?