On 30 October, Gulnaz, a 20-year-old woman hailing from Rasalpur Habib village under Desari block of Bihar’s Vaishali district, was burnt alive for allegedly resisting a molestation bid. The accused, Satish and Chandan, poured kerosene on her and set her on fire.
The incident came to light recently when she passed away on Sunday, 15 November, after battling for her life at a government hospital in Patna for 15 days.
In the wake of the said incident, two images and a video are being circulated with the false claim that they are related to the case. Let’s look at them one by one.
In a bid for justice for the victim, social media users shared an image showing a man dressed in saffron clothes, holding a saffron flag, with the caption: “A girl was burnt alive for not marrying a guy and was dumped into a well. Just because she's a Muslim, she can't get justice? Nitish Kumar, why are you quiet now!! Do something. (sic)”
WHAT’S THE FACT?
While the image of the family staging a protest to demand justice for their daughter is related to the Desari block case, a local reporter confirmed to The Quint that the image of the man in saffron clothes is from an older case that took place in Mahnar of Vaishali district.
We conducted a reverse image search and found that the same image was shared in August by social media users, stating that a Muslim girl was kidnapped and murdered. Her body was recovered from a well.
With a keyword search we came across an article by News18 dated 21 July, which states that the body of a missing 17-year-old girl, the daughter of City Council President Shah Jahan Khatoon, was found inside a well in Mahnar block of Vaishali district.
Family members had “accused” one Shalu Kumar Singh in an FIR lodged by the deceased’s brother Mohammad Sabir at the Mahnar Police Station.
Using the aforementioned details, we were able to access the FIR registered in the case through Bihar’s State Crime Record Bureau’s official website.
The FIR mentions the accused as Aman Kumar Singh alias Shalu Singh. In the FIR, we also came across Mohammad Sabir’s phone number.
Sabir confirmed to The Quint that the image of the man being shared as a culprit in the recent Vaishali case is actually an “accused” in his sister’s case.
He also sent us a screenshot of his Facebook profile by the name Shalu Kumar Singh, which no longer exists and told us that he was a member of the Bajrang Dal’s unit in Mahnar.
We came across Shalu Kumar Singh’s photo on Bajrang Dal Mahnar’s Facebook page, an archived version of which can be viewed here.
We tried calling the number mentioned in the image but it was not traceable.
We then reached out to few members of Mahnar’s Bajrang Dal, namely Shatrughan and Ujjawal, who confirmed that the viral image circulating on social media is indeed of Shalu Kumar Singh.
We also reached out to the SHO at Mahnar Police Station, but he refused to comment.
It is pertinent to note that The Quint has not independently verified whether Shalu Kumar Singh was involved in the Mahnar case or not as alleged by the victim’s family members.
Another image showing the body of a person lying inside a well is being linked to the recent Vaishali incident.
WHAT’S THE FACT?
A reverse image search led us to a video by YouTube channel Vaishali Today dated 20 July, carrying a visual similar to the viral photo of the girl inside the well.
The picture is from the same incident which took place in Mahnar. The details mentioned in the video matched with the News18 article on the incident.
The same visuals were also carried by another local news report on YouTube channel, ‘Firstnews Bihar,’ dated 20 July, stating that the body of the 17-year-old girl was found in Mahnar’s well.
A local reporter, too, told The Quint that the visual is from the July incident and not the recent Vaishali one.
Further, according to news reports, the 20-year-old woman in Desari block was burnt alive with kerosene in front of her house when she had gone out to call her younger brother. However, no report mentions that her body had been dumped inside a well.
A video of a girl lying on the ground is also being circulated to claim that it shows the body of the Vaishali victim.
WHAT’S THE FACT?
We extracted the keyframes from the video using the InVID WeVerify Google Chrome extension and conducted a reverse-image search of some keyframes.
One of the results led us to an article published on SaakshaTV. The report, written in Kannada, said that a woman was allegedly killed and burnt in Periyapatna, Mysuru, Karnataka.
We looked for the keywords "woman burnt in Mysuru" and found other news reports about the incident.
A report published in Star of Mysore said: "A girl, aged between 18 and 20 years, has been allegedly murdered and her body was set on fire next to Kelluru Harangi Canal bund adjacent to K.R. Nagar-Ravandur Main Road in Periyapatna taluk."
The article included a quote from the police that said: "The body, from head to waist has been charred, and the pink leggings she was wearing had caught fire."
The Times of India also reported on the incident, according to which, an investigation has been launched to identify the victim.
Evidently, two unrelated images and a video have been falsely associated to the recent incident that took place in Bihar’s Vaishali.