Home Fact-Check Media Fact-Check How AltNews tried to whitewash crimes of Zahid and Aslam who killed a 3-year-old in Aligarh

How AltNews tried to whitewash crimes of Zahid and Aslam who killed a 3-year-old in Aligarh

Their 'fact-check' not only reeked of insensitivity, but complicity in whitewashing a heinous crime.

In the gruesome murder of the two-and-a-half-year-old little girl Tina (name changed) in Tappal of Aligarh has sent chills down our spine. According to Aligarh Police, she was kidnapped on 31st May 2019, and an FIR was registered in PS Tappal, Aligarh district of Uttar Pradesh.

The police has confirmed that two accused, Zahid and Aslam, have been arrested in this regard and that the murder took place over an altercation over money between the accused and Tina’s father.

The police has also said that according to the post-mortem report, ‘rape has not been confirmed’. Rape not confirmed is not the same as rape ruled out.

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Self-proclaimed fact-checker AltNews in an attempt to whitewash the crimes of Zahid and Aslam, tried to claim that no rape had taken place and in support, they put out statements by some officials of Uttar Pradesh police.

Alt News contacted Akash Kulhary, SSP Aligarh who confirmed that the victim was not raped, adding, “The post-mortem report mentions death by strangulation as the cause. The claims circulating on social media that the victim’s eyes were gouged out and her arm amputated, are also false. Also, the claim that acid was poured on her body, is untrue. No such thing has occurred. The post-mortem report has been shared with the family of the victim.”

First of all, it is intriguing that such set of self-declared activists find a police statement the ultimate truth when it suits them, while rejecting even court observations when it doesn’t suit them. Say, will the founders and editors of AltNews accept that Ishrat Jahan was a terrorist because multiple policemen say so? We all know the answer.

However, going beyond their hypocrisy, there is evidence on hand that suggests that any claim – of either the poor child being subjected to sexual assault or whether she was not raped at all – is equally valid or invalid at this point of time.

Post-mortem report on Aligarh case (image courtesy: journalist @anjanaomkashyap on Twitter)

OpIndia showed the post-mortem report to a couple of doctors and they said that the baby died due to injuries caused to her. “The injuries were severe enough to lead to shock and eventually death. Shock is confirmed by the collapse of vessels (antemortem sign). Major blood loss happened before death,” a doctor confirmed that there were brutalities on the child.

“The most important of all is that her abdominal organs are missing, including uterus and genital organs. She might had been subjected to extreme torture and this can also be the cause of excessive blood loss and collapse of the blood vessels. Other injuries include fracture of leg below knee and amputation of humerus (arm). These injuries point towards brutality. Vaginal swabs have been taken for examination but due to decomposition they are less likely to be useful. It should be made clear that negative results on swab does not rule out sexual act.”

“The injuries 2 (right arm amputated) and 3 (left leg fracture) are definitely before her death. Her abdominal organs are missing. That is also most likely an antemortem act. But cannot confirm based on this report. They have not mentioned if the abdomen was open or was the coverings decomposed. The opening of left side of the chest is also confusing. It can be an antemortem or decomposition in case the body was lying on the left side,” the doctor said.

Another doctor said, “It seems like because of the amount of damage and ‘rotting’ (putrefaction) rape cannot be confirmed or denied. It all sounds bloody gruesome. Eyeballs are missing (says eye tissue absent, orbital socket intact), leg fracture, arm ripped at the shoulder and all abdominal organs missing. Could be because of animal scavenging too.”

Such injuries can happen if animals attack or scavenge, which looks improbable as the body was not found in any jungle or such place. The body was reportedly found near a dumping ground.

Doctor’s comments on the post-mortem of the child

The doctor’s comment on the post-mortem report mentions the uterus and other genital organs were missing. As per a doctor OpIndia talked to, “Animal(s) eating the organs is a possibility which cannot be ruled out. Whether these organs were mutilated before or after the death (due to animals) is very difficult to know and will require advanced forensics.”

However, one of the doctors said the possibility of animal scavenging was very slim.

“I don’t think it’s act of animals at all. Because when animals attack, half eaten organs are likely to be found in the body, animal bite marks can also be found in the rest of the body. They will also tear the chest for rib cage. After decomposition, the organs get liquefied. No animal can scoop out all the complete organs at once,” the doctor said.

When asked whether there is a possibility of confirming the child was raped, the doctor said, “I would think it would be impossible to deny or confirm rape, even with further exam. One possibility is they gave swabbed the areas and if they find ‘traces of human fluid/tissues’ from the assailants, they can suggest that type of assault.”

Therefore, going by the post-mortem reports, vital body parts were missing, her arm was indeed amputated, and the child may or may not have been raped, contrary to the ‘fake news on social media busted’ by AltNews.

AltNews even claimed OpIndia’s previous report which mentioned amputation of the child’s body was ‘fake’. They focused on the eyes gouged out part, about which we asked the doctors whom we showed the post-mortem report. They said that had the eyes been intact, the report should have talked about damages to it.

AltNews report on Aligarh case

In short, AltNews tried to deny that rape took place even as the statement by Uttar Police says that “According to Post mortem report rape has not been confirmed till now.” Notice the phrase “till now”, which was conveniently ignored by AltNews in their ‘fact-check’.

Furthermore, the post-mortem report is a testament to the kind of brutality that the victim had to undergo, the gravity of which AltNews is trying to dilute.

People at AltNews should have the sense that if someone throws a dead body to decompose or to be eaten by animals, that is also a testament to their brutal and hateful mindset. Even courts take cognisance of such deeds in ascertaining the cruelty and rarity of a crime, and finally in awarding punishments. But for AltNews, a murderer’s “role” ends after the victim is dead. This is not only insensitivity but complicity in whitewashing a crime.

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