A picture of a man holding a saffron flag is viral online with captions falsely linking him to the murder of a 20-year-old woman Gulnaz Khatun who was burnt alive in Bihar's Vaishali district on October 30, 2020.
BOOM found that the man in the viral picture is not connected to Gulnaz Khatun's death but is an accused in another alleged murder that took place in the same district in July this year.
Gulnaz Khatun was doused with kerosene and set ablaze in Rasulpur Habib village of Vaishali district on October 30, 2020 by three men who were allegedly stalking and threatening her. She succumbed to her injuries on November 15. One of the accused has been arrested while the other two men are absconding, BOOM was able to confirm with local police. The names of the accused mentioned in the FIR are Satish Rai, Chandan and Vijay Rai.
The case has created an uproar on social media after a recorded statement of the victim surfaced. Images and video clips of Gulnaz went viral on social media trending #JusticeForGulnaz on Twitter even as the family members of the deceased sat in protest demanding the arrest of the accused.
The Hindi caption accompanying the viral posts with the man's picture translates to 'Gulnaz from Bihar's Vaishali, who was burned alive by Satish Kumar and Chandan Kumar after she refused to marry one of them, has died today. The criminals are still alive. You can identify the rapists by their clothes'.
(Hindi: बिहार के वैशाली जिले की गुलनाज़ जिसे सतीश_कुमार और चंदन_कुमार ने शादी से इंकार करने पर अपने साथियों के साथ मिलकर मिट्टी का तेल छिड़क कर जला डाला था वह ज़िन्दगी की जंग हार गई और उनका निधन हो गया ,अपराधी अभी भी आज़ाद है बलात्कारी की पहचान आप कपडे से कर सकते है। #JusticeForGulnaz)
View the viral post below and access its archived version here.
The picture has been shared from several Twitter handles as well claiming that the man dressed in saffron shirt is one of the accused.
Check archive here.
BOOM contacted the superintendent of police, Vaishali to get more details on the case. SP Manish told BOOM that the main accused in the incident has been nabbed and search is on for the other two named in the FIR.
"A special team had been formed to nab the accused. He is not connected to any political or social outfit," the SP told BOOM.
We then did a reverse image search on the viral picture and found a tweet from August 11, 2020 which had shared the same picture along with three others but with a different claim.
The Hindi tweet from @MuslimAwaz translates to 'In the land of democracy (Vaishali) Mahnar, a Muslim girl is picked up from her house in broad daylight and later murdered and the body is disposed of in a well. But the accused hasn't been arrested yet'.
A set of four pictures have been shared with the tweet which include a newspaper clipping, photo of a girl, viral photo of the youth wearing saffron shirt, and the body of a girl lying inside a well.
Note: Some of the images are disturbing in nature, discretion is advised.
We also found Facebook posts from July sharing the same picture with a different caption.
Taking cue from the newspaper clipping, BOOM did a search with Hindi keywords 'शाहजहां खातून की बेटी सोमी परवीन AND शालू कुमार सिंह' and found media reports about the incident.
A News 18 report stated that the incident took place on July 19, 2020 when the daughter of Shah Jahan Khatun, former president of Mahnar Municipal Corporation, went missing from her home. The girl's body was recovered from a well. Family members of the deceased had accused their neighbour Aman Singh alias Shalu Kumar Singh of the girl's murder.
We then performed a Facebook search with the same set of keywords and found a photo of the FIR report filed in the case. The contact number of the victim's brother Mohammed Sabir was mentioned in the FIR and BOOM contacted him to get more details.
Sabir identified the photo as that of Aman Kumar Singh alias Shalu Kumar Singh.
"He has made two Facebook profiles in the name of Rajput Aman Priyadarshi and Shalu Kumar Singh. He murdered my sister. I have seen his photo (Shalu Singh) being shared in connection with Gulnaz Khatun's murder but it is not the case," Sabir told BOOM.
When asked whether Aman alias Shalu has been arrested yet, Sabir replied in negative.
BOOM also called Mahnar police station but the official concerned declined to comment.
We then looked up for the Facebook profile of Aman Kumar Singh, screenshots of which were sent to us by the deceased girl's brother Sabir. However, we could not find the profiles which might have been deactivated.
We were however successful in tracing an account called बजरंग दल महनार where a picture of Aman Singh alias Shalu Singh was shared.
The number mentioned along with the photo was unreachable.
BOOM then dug up other contacts from the Facebook page बजरंग दल महनार and contacted them to get more details about the viral picture.
At least two persons we were able to get in touch with confirmed to us that the viral picture was that of Aman alias Shalu.
We also performed a facial comparison of the pictures shared on the Facebook page बजरंग दल महनार and the posts linking the image to Gulnaz's murder. The tool showed a 99.2 % match between the facial features.
BOOM was however unable to independently verify Aman Singh's involvement in the murder of the girl as claimed by her family members.
Updated On: 2020-11-23T14:15:05+05:30
Claim Review : The man shown in the picture is one of the murderers of Gulnaz who was burned alive in Bihars Vaishali
Claimed By : Social media pages
Fact Check : False