A photograph showing a panel of Congress leaders is being circulated online. Viral posts suggest that a woman in the photograph is Rajkumari Bansal. Earlier, a hashtag on social media accused a person named Rajkumari Bansal of having Naxal links and pretending to be the sister-in-law of the Hathras victim. And now social media posts claim she is a Congress party member.
The hashtag #NaxalBhabhi has been tossed around on social media for the last couple of days. Public discourse claimed that a woman, who at some point was also being claimed to be the `sister' or 'bhabhi' (sister-in-law) of the Hathras victim, had been visiting the victim's house. Social media users claimed Rajkumari Bansal is also accused of being part of an "international conspiracy" to defame Yogi Adityanath administration.
The viral photo shows three men including Congress spokesperson Gaurav Vallabh and a woman sitting together at a press meet with a Goa Pradesh Congress Committee board in the background.
"The fake Naxal Bhabi who was hugged by Priyanka Vadra at Hathras Case Impressive Drama enacted by Priyanka Vadra," reads the caption of one such post.
The woman in the viral photo from the Goa Congress Press conference is the Naxalite woman who claimed to be the Hathras victim's sister-in-law.
The claim is false.
The woman in the viral photo is actually Goa Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) social media in-charge Pratibha Borkar. The event seen in the viral photograph is a press conference by Goa Congress which was conducted last year.
The same panel was seen in a Facebook live posted by Indian National Congress Goa on September 29, 2019. The video can be watched here.
Times of India reported on October 2, 2020, that a press conference was hosted by the Goa Congress in connection to the Uttar Pradesh administration's handling of the Hathras incident. In the Facebook Live of the conference, Borkar can be seen.
Further, the viral photo was uploaded by Borkar as her cover picture on Facebook.
Borkar told BOOMLive that she is indeed seen in the viral photo which is from a press conference last year.
"Yes, that is me in the viral photo but I am not the Rajkumari Bansal as being claimed. I have not been to Hathras, Uttar Pradesh or met Priyanka Gandhi Vadra in Hathras. This is an attempt to discredit the work done by Goa Congress by sharing such stuff as anyone can make out that the two are different people," Borkar was quoted as saying.
Government medical college forensic department assistant professor Doctor Rajkumari Bansal had reportedly taken a leave of three days from October 4 to 6 to visit the village of Hathras in UP to meet the family of the 19-year-old Dalit victim, who lost her life in a Delhi hospital on September 29 from injuries sustained when she was allegedly gang-raped.
Bansal denied having participated in any protest and of pretending to be in any relation with Hathras victim's family. She further clarified that she has never met Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.
"I have not met any political leader to date, I am a government employee, Priyanka Gandhi probably reached Hathras on October 3, 2020, and I reached Hathras on October 4, 2020, I have never met Priyanka Gandhi Ji," Bansal was quoted as saying.
Below is a comparison of Bansal (left) and Goa Congress leader Pratibha Borkar (right) and the viral photo in the centre:
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