Video Editor: Rahul Sanpui
Many social media posts targeting Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) scholar and activist Safoora Zargar for her marital status and pregnancy are doing the rounds, with people claiming that she is unmarried and that her pregnancy was discovered when she was lodged in Tihar Jail.
Not only are these claims baseless and false, they also reflect the vitriolic trolling that activists, students and many others are exposed to on a daily basis.
Facebook and Twitter are flooded with messages claiming that 27-year-old Zargar, who was arrested by the Delhi Police’s special cell on 10 April for her alleged involvement in the Delhi riots and subsequently booked under the draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), learnt about her pregnancy after she underwent a medical examination in Tihar Jail.
Several people also linked this to Shaheen Bagh, insinuating that this is the “truth” behind the Shaheen Bagh protests.
(Caution: Strong/abusive language used in posts below.)
Nitin Tripathi is a Former District President from Unnao associated with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
WHAT WE FOUND
There were two parts to the claim which we decided to debunk:
- Safoora learnt about her pregnancy during medical examination in Tihar Jail.
- She is unmarried.
After conducting a Google keywords search using “Safoora Zargar arrested” we came across several news reports which mentioned about her pregnancy at the time she was arrested by the Delhi Police’s special cell. Thus, making it evident that her pregnancy was known at the time she was arrested.
We reached out to Safoora’s sister Sameeya Zargar, who confirmed that she is married.
“Such vicious attacks on her by social media trolls are the least of our concern right now. We are focusing our energy on finding ways to bring her out of jail.”Sameeya Zargar, Safoora’s sister
Safoora’s fellow activist and Jamia student Azhar told us that the claims of Safoora being unmarried are baseless. He also helped us source images from her wedding day.
“We were anticipating that this would happen. That is why a lot us wanted to record her video with her husband on the day of her arrest but he refused,” Azhar told us.
The Quint has verified the pictures of Zargar’s wedding day, but has decided to withhold them.
We also came across a Deccan Digest interview dated 25 January where Zargar is talking about her husband, 4:17 minutes into the video.
Further, we reached out to her husband but he didn’t wish to comment on the matter, at the moment.
Clearly, unverified and false information about Zargar is being spread with an intent to malign and discredit the activist.
We have noticed similar trends in the past where students have been subjected to online trolling and hate for protesting against the establishment. During the JNU fee hike protest in 2019, similar questions were raised on students character to malign and discredit them.
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