The arrest of Jamia scholar Safoora Zargar has given rise to the usual misogyny and vulgar remarks that any vocal woman has to routinely face on social media. Zargar is an expectant mother – a detail that would rouse sympathies under normal circumstances. Instead, her pregnancy is the reason for the derogatory messages. Alt News had earlier debunked a viral claim suggesting that Zargar is unmarried. Notwithstanding how a woman chooses to conceive, Zargar has been married for almost two years and was pregnant at the time of her imprisonment. She was a part of the protests against the Citizenship law and was booked by the Delhi police under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act or UAPA.
Now, a photograph of an anti-CAA protester is viral with claims hinting that she is Zargar. The woman has the words ‘Fuck Hindu Rashtra’ imprinted on her cheek. Squint Neon @TheSquind, a handle that regularly shares misinformation, tweeted the image writing, “She got pregnant after that?” (archive)
She got pregnant after that? pic.twitter.com/WvaTuLdpX8
— Squint Neon (@TheSquind) May 4, 2020
A Facebook user Apurba Deka similarly wrote, “She Wrote “Fcuk Hindurasthra” on her cheek and now we wanna know, whether Hindurasthra impregnated her?” He identified the woman as Zargar.
Facebook page Sarcasm-O-Pedia II also shared the image. “वो धरने.. वो धरने की रात सुहानी थी, मिलने वाली बिरयानी थी। कोई इसी बहाने खेल गया और 500₹ देके पेल गया।” reads the caption in Hindi which translates to – “That night, that night of the protest was beautiful. We were going to get biryani. Using this as an excuse, someone gave Rs 500 and fooled me.” (archive)
A similar claim is floating on Instagram. A collage of images has been created which also includes a photograph of a couple having intercourse behind a fence. Below is a post by the page ‘the_sanatani_sher’ (archive). Another page ‘fuck_secular_india’ shared the same photo montage (archive).
The woman whose cheek is painted with an anti-CAA slogan is not Safoora Zargar. She is a student at Delhi University. Zargar is a scholar at Jamia Milia Islamia.
Alt News is refraining from disclosing the student’s name to protect her identity. The photograph had attracted a lot of hate and derogatory remarks when it was earlier viral in January.
The photograph of a couple having sex behind a fence is a screenshot from an old pornographic video which was debunked by Alt News in March. At the time, several users had shared the clip claiming it was shot in Shaheen Bagh.
Alt News found that the video was uploaded on random portals and porn websites. Below is a screenshot of an Arabic website where the video was uploaded in July 2018. Protests in Shaheen Bagh began in December 2019.
Therefore, an unrelated image and a screengrab of pornographic video are circulating with false claims targeting JMI scholar Safoora Zargar.