The RSS mouthpiece Organiser outraged about the “rape” of a minor girl in TN on 7th June 2020. Four Muslim men were said to have been arrested. The news was picked up by several Hindutva outlets and amplified in social media by usual Hindutva trolls, as reported by Janta ka Reporter.
Times of India, however, reports that the six-year-old victim was in fact molested rather than raped. She is one of the millions affected by the widening hunger crisis in India and had been asking for food in the neighbourhood. The accused had taken advantage of the situation to induce her to undress in front of them, giving her money in exchange. A repulsive crime under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, but not a physical assault.
According to TOI, the little girl informed her father about the incident who in turn sought the advice of village elders, who intervened to record the statement of the minor victim and to lodge a police complaint based on this statement. The accused: Mohammed Noogu (75), Sahaya Dasan (52), Zaheer Hussain (53), Abdul Jaffar (66), and two minor boys, were all arrested from the neighbourhood close to Thengapattanam village in Tamil Nadu. The distorted report in the Organiser and subsequent amplification conflated the incident with rape, a much more serious crime. Also, in a bizarre twist, they misreported the names as Muhammed Nooh (75), Zahadasan (52), Zafir Hussain (53) and Abdul Jafar (68) and claimed that the incident took place in Nagercoil, a town about 30 km from the site of the crime, where in fact the accused are lodged. But then, accuracy has never been of interest to outlets focused on spreading misinformation.
Much more worryingly, the whole incident was misrepresented as “gang rape” and the religion of the accused was emphasized; that the victim’s family belonged to the same religion was conveniently omitted. There was outrage about the senior-citizen status of the accused, as contrasted with the very young age of the victim. Worryingly, the statement video of the victim is being virally shared – police is taking action to stop this illegal act. Most of all, the less serious accusation was transformed into headlines declaring “brutally gang-raped after being lured with food“. Several prominent Muslim Twitter users immediately demanded strict action against the accused. All the accused are now in custody – either in jail awaiting trial or, in case of minors, in a detention facility.
Media Scanner condemns this heinous act and demands that justice be served to the victim.