[Disclaimer: Viral videos have not been uploaded in this report due to their gory and disturbing nature.]
Two videos – one that shows a man shot to death and another where a mob hacks a man to death – are widely circulating on WhatsApp. It has been claimed that the men were rapists and were ‘punished’ for their crimes. Pictures of a minor girl have been superimposed on the videos.
Alt News has received several requests to fact-check this claim on our WhatsApp helpline number (+91 76000 11160).
All three elements in the viral message are unrelated to each other. We will first start with the pictures of the minor girl.
Saidabad rape case
Alt News performed a reverse image search and found the girl’s images on social media. As per the posts, she was a victim of a recent rape case in Hyderabad. This was also corroborated by local journalists from Hyderabad.
On September 9, a minor girl was reportedly raped at her neighbour’s house in Hyderabad’s Saidabad area. Raju (30) was the main suspect for the police. The post-mortem report revealed that the six-year-old was raped and strangled to death.
The Hindu reported that a massive manhunt was launched by the Telangana police to nab the only suspect in the case. The search ended on September 16 when Raju’s body was found on the railway tracks between Station Ghanpur and Naskhal railway stations in the Jangoan district of Telangana.
A police official told BBC Telugu that Pallakonda Raju’s death was “a clear case of suicide”. According to BBC, the police’s version has been questioned and cops were accused of staging a suicide. Two days before Raju’s body was found, Telangana Labour Minister Malla Reddy boasted that “we will catch the rapist and murderer, and encounter him”.
Video 1: Man being shot dead
This 12-second video shows a man being shot multiple times. On the bottom left, a text in Hindi says, “Mend your ways or the same will happen to you.”
Alt News took a screenshot of the video, performed a reverse image search and found one of the frames of the video on Brazilian websites Rondônia News and JH Noticias. According to reports, the video shows a man being executed by drug dealers. We also found that the video was uploaded on a website that hosts user-generated gore videos with the caption ‘Brazilian man shot to death point-blank’.
Further, on performing a keyword search we located the video uploaded by another Brazillian website. The article from April said that the police is investigating the matter.
Video 2: Man being hacked with an axe
Alt News had verified this video in August when it was shared with the false claim that a Hindu man was murdered by Muslims in Rajasthan’s Malpur.
The video is from Karnataka and shows a personal tiff between two rival gangs. Alt News spoke with SP Hanumanth Rai at Karnataka-based town Haveri. He did not say that the motive behind the mob attack was punishment for rape. As per Goa-based news outlet Herald, the video shows the murder of notorious criminal Anwar Shaikh alias ‘Tiger’ at Karatagi Cross, Savanur, Karnataka on August 8.
Thus, in the backdrop of the Saidabad rape and murder case and the controversial circumstances surrounding the death of the only suspect, two unrelated videos were linked to the case.