A video of a woman entrepreneur receiving an award is viral on social media with a false claim that she is the 26-year old veterinarian doctor from Hyderabad who was raped and murdered in November 2019. Indian law forbids revealing the identity of a rape victim. But an unrelated video is now viral with a caption in Hindi which misidentifies the victim.
In the four-minute-long video one can hear the announcer say 'Shrimati Allola Divya Reddy from Telangana'. A sign reading the 'Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers' Welfare', and the seal of the government of India on the podium from where the woman delivers her speech, can be spotted.
The video is being shared with a caption that translates to the following: "The death of Divya Reddy in the Hyderabad case is not only an end of a doctor, but a government awarded vet scientist and researcher has been sacrificed for lust. This is an incredible harm to the world.”
The clip went viral in the backdrop of the case where a 26-year-old veterinary doctor was gang raped, murdered and then set on fire by four men on the outskirts of Hyderabad on November 28. The victim's charred body was found the next morning, following which the Cyberabad police arrested four accused.
On December 6, 2019, the police revealed that the four accused were killed in an encounter. The gruesome crime has caused nationwide outrage putting the focus on women's safety in India in the spotlight. On searching with the same caption on Facebook, we found that the video is viral.
We found that the woman seen in the viral video is not the Hyderabad rape victim. As can be heard in the viral clip, the woman in the viral video introduces herself as Divya Allola Reddy. On searching on YouTube with 'Divya Allola Reddy', we found a 4.25 minutes video uploaded by a YouTube channel Klimom on June 2, 2018. It is an exact match to the viral video and the description reads, 'Watch Allola Divya Reddy speak on winning the National Gopal Ratna Award 2018.' One can spot the same visuals as in the viral video from the 14 seconds time-stamp.
Reddy is the founder of 'Klimom', a wellness farm in Hyderabad aimed at producing quality cow milk by raising Indian native cow breed. We performed a Google search with her name and found various articles on her and the enterprise she started.
The Hyderabad rape victim was 26 years old whereas Divya Allola Reddy is 35 years as reported by Deccan Chronicle. Additionally, the Hyderabad rape victim name is not Divya as claimed in the viral post. The victim was not married as has been reported and Divya Allola Reddy names her husband, Gautam Reddy in her speech. Klimom has also uploaded the original video on its Facebook page.
Section 228A of the IPC makes disclosure of identity of victim of certain offences, including rape, punishable with imprisonment of a term which may extend to two years and fine.
According to SC guidelines, no media house or person is permitted to print or publish the name of the victim or even in a remote manner disclose any facts which can lead to the victim being identified and make her identity known to the public at large. Even at the authorisation of her/his kin, identity cannot be revealed until there are circumstances justifying the disclosure.
(This article was originally published on Boomlive and has been republished with permission)