Daijiworld Media Network - Mangaluru
Mangaluru, Mar 1: Pictures of a girl dressed in a bridal attire with a helpless expression, standing next to a man of African ethnicity, almost thrice her age, has taken the internet by storm. The message accompanying the picture reads 'Sabiha Banu from Mangalore married or (Sold) to Abu Bakr Al Moum of Nigeria'.
The picture mostly shared from BJP and RSS-backed social media handles, is making rounds since a week. A right-leaning website, without bothering to verify the picture, carried it as a news item making false claims about the girl being a Mangalurean. The picture was shared and tweeted thousands of times and some even went to the extent of tagging Sushma Swaraj seeking her intervention.
While some people in their comments regretted on the girl’s plight, communal hatred, sarcasm and criticisms on the failure of Karnataka government to protect the victim also followed.
However, when daijiworld went ahead to investigate the 'Sabiha Banu' case, it turned out that the entire episode never happened in Mangaluru. As a matter of fact, the girl in the picture is supposedly from Hyderabad.
The pictures first appeared in Hyderabad with a 20 second audio clip of a man requesting police intervention in locating the couple. People suspected that the photo could be of a contract marriage, solemnized in Hyderabad and started sharing the same. Some netizens identified one of the people in the picture to be 'Petrol Mahmood', a person who owned a petrol station in Hyderabad’s Engine Bowli area.
As Engine Bowli comes in Faluknama police station limits, the complaint was forwarded to the station to find the whereabouts of Petrol Mahmood.
Speaking to daijiworld, Faluknama police station SHO P Yadagiri said that they launched an enquiry as they got the news that the girl is a minor and one of the persons in the picture was identified to be from his area, and is believed to be the girl’s father. However, it is found that Petrol Mahmood moved to Pahadi Shareef, which does not come under his limits.
"Upon enquiry we found that the girl is not a minor and is not married to the person. They cyber police are investigating the case," he said.
Meanwhile, Pahadi Shareef police station SHO Laxmikanth Reddy says that they have not received any complaint.
Hyderabad cyber crime police station social media unit police inspector Chand Pasha says that he has come across the picture on media outlets and the police are investigating its authencity and tracing the origin of the message.
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