Of late a worrisome trend has emerged on social media in which prominent Muslim women student activists are being targeted through pornographic content. What is more worrisome is that no action is taken from either social media companies or law enforcement agencies.
Women caught shopping during lockdown
A video of burqa-clad women escaping from the first floor of a building was made viral on social media claiming that Muslim women were caught shopping in the middle of the nationwide lockdown and were trying to flee from the police. The most widely circulating claim reads, “Aaj ki taza khabar yeh aourton ko shopping ke baghair mout ajaty, lock down mein police ne owner ko baher karke showroom ko lock kardiye, lekin yeh ladies ooper store mein chup gayee thein baad mein balcony se tamasha dekho.”
Raid at brothel
Alt News fact-checked the claim and found that it was 5-year-old video of Pakistan in which sex workers were fleeing after Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) raided a brothel at ‘Khadda market’ in Karachi.
Targeting of JMI student protester
In another attempt to defame Muslim women, a pornographic image was used to target JMI student Ladeeda Farzana who became the face of anti-CAA protest in December last year.
An “active BJP worker” @GahlotKanpur on his Twitter handle shared two photographs — an image of Muslim women talking to AIMIM chief Asaddudin Owaisi juxtaposed with a picture of a topless woman. One of the women in the first image, highlighted in red, is being claimed to be the semi-naked woman. “शाहीन बाग की दूसरी शेरनी सबीना बानो का नीला चल चित्र मिला है..!! (A video of Shaheen Bagh’s second lioness has been found.)” — reads the message shared with the video.
Another user @sandeepmjainjai whose bio reads “RSS BJP Hindu” and adorns a photograph of Prime Minister Narendra Modi as his display picture also shared the two pictures.
Image lifted from pornographic sites
However after a reverse-image search, Alt News found that a random, explicit image was picked up from Indian porn website where multiple photographs of the semi-naked woman were found, and juxtaposed with a photograph from December 2019 when Jamia students and activists Ladeeda Farzana and Aysha Renna met with AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi during protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). Viral messages misidentify Farzana as “Sabina Bano”.
After doing a facial comparison of the woman with the student activist, Alt News also found that quite evidently, they are not the same person.
Farzana also clarified that it was not her saying “That is obviously not me in the picture. This isn’t new. Anyone who criticises or speaks against the Sangh Parivar, they are targetted in this manner. They can continue with their dirty games but I will not step back. I will continue to raise my voice. This does not affect me.”
Earlier Alt News had debunked another pornographic photograph/ video circulating in JMI scholar Safoora Zargar’s name. Zargar was three months pregnant when she was lodged in Tihar jail in April under the draconian UAPA.
Attempt to defame Shaheen Bagh protestors
In March this year a video of a couple getting intimate behind an alleyway was being circulated on social media as that from Shaheen Bagh.
A twitter user with ID @Indian91783856 quote-tweeted the above video and wrote, “Young children aged below 18 shouldn’t watch this video from Shaheen Bagh. See the scared community behind Shaheen Bagh, right after coming out of Madrasa.” The video has also been shared on Facebook.
Pornographic video viral as Shaheen Bagh
To fact-check the claim Alt-News did reverse-image search of one of the keyframes from the clip and it was revealed that a pornographic video is being used to discredit Shaheen Bagh and the women protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
The clip was not only found on several porn websites or social media handles, but the same was uploaded on an Arabic website anotepad.com on 10 July 2018.