Viral social media posts have misidentified the image of a young woman in the backdrop of a sugarcane field as the deceased victim of the alleged gang-rape in Hathras, Uttar Pradesh. BOOM contacted a family member of the deceased who confirmed that the viral image is not of the deceased.
BOOM also accessed the victim's image and confirmed for ourselves that it was different from the viral image.
On September 29, a 19-year-old Dalit girl from UP's Hathras succumbed to injuries in Delhi's Safdarjung hospital. The young woman had been allegedly brutally assaulted and raped by four upper caste men on September 14 while she was collecting animal fodder in the fields. All the four accused have been since arrested. Read more about the incident here. In the early hours of September 30, a fresh controversy in the case broke out after police were accused of cremating the woman's body without consent from the family - a charge the police have denied.
With the victim's death on September 29, there has been an uproar on social media. Hashtags demanding justice for the victim was trended on Twitter and Facebook. Amid the wave of social media protests, an image of a girl was shared and tweeted several times claiming her to be the deceased victim.
Several verified Twitter handles and Facebook profiles shared the image along with the victim's name. BOOM has not included the posts in accordance with Indian law that requires the identity of a rape victim should not be revealed.
The picture has been shared with the same claim from several Facebook pages and Twitter handles.
BOOM contacted the victim's brother who denied that the girl in the viral picture was his sister.
"The picture of a girl standing in front of a field...no, she is not my sister," the victim's brother told BOOM. He also said that the girl in the viral picture was not known to the family.
We also accessed a video of the victim and took screenshots and compared it with the viral video and found them to be of two completely different persons.
While doing a keyword search on Facebook, BOOM came across a post that shared the same viral image with a caption that claimed to identify the girl in the photo.
A Hindi caption with the post translates to 'Please share this widely. Note: This photo that is being shared in connection with the Hathras case is of my sister who had died in a hospital in Chandigarh in 2018 due to negligence of the doctors. Back then, the police over there were not registering an FIR and we had used this photo for a campaign. The case is still undergoing in Chandigarh. It's an appeal to you to not share this photo in connection with the Hathras case. Thank you.
(Hindi: ज्यादा से ज्यादा शेयर करे । नोट- ये फोटो जो आप लोग हाथरस केस के साथ जोड़कर शेयर कर रहे है ये फोटो मेरे बहिन की है जिसकी मौत 2018 में चंडीगढ़ के हॉस्पिटल में हुई थी ।डॉक्टर की लापरवाही से उस वक़्त वहाँ की पुलिस FIR नही लिख रही थी तब हम लोगो ने ये फोटो डालकर कंपेन चलाया था। उसका केस चंडीगढ़ में चल रहा है कृपा आप लोगो से निवेदन है ये फोटो हाथरस केस के साथ जोड़कर न शेयर करे और शेयर होने से रोके। धन्यवाद)
BOOM tracked back the same photo on the Facebook user's profile to July 25, 2018.
A Hindi caption with the message translates to 'I want justice. Why did my sister die. Plz support me. Today it's my sister, tomorrow it can be someone else's sister as long as such doctors practice in this country who sell their conscience for money. This not the first case nor the last. As long as such doctors are there, this will keep happening. Plz help me'.
(Hindi: मुझे न्याय चाहिए किस कारण से मेरी बहन की मौत हुई है plz support me आज मेरी बहन है कल किसी और की हो सकती जबतक ऐसे डॉक्टर इस देश में रहेंगे। जो पैसे के लिए अपनी इंसानियत बेच दी ये कोई आज पहली केश नही है और आखिरी भी नही है जबतक ऐसे डॉक्टर रहेंगे ये होता रहेगा और कोई न कोई इनके लापरवाही का शिकार होता रहेगा। plz help me.)
BOOM has reached out to the Facebook user Ajay J Yadav who has uploaded the picture and the report will be updated when we hear from him.