The Kumbh Mela in Uttarakhand's Haridwar is the centre of controversy over violations of COVID-19 protocols amid a record spike in new cases in India, which is consistently reporting over 2 lakh daily cases. With such record-high cases, a religious congregation of such a scale has drawn widespread criticism on social media. Some netizens have also questioned the lack of reportage by the national media on such a massive scale event. In view of this, a video of a local TV anchor's report on Kumbh mela in the context of COVID-19 has been linked to the gruesome murder of a woman in Delhi's Rohini this month.
A video of a gruesome murder has been making the rounds of social media and WhatsApp groups, claiming the woman in the video is Pragya Mishra, a TV anchor for UP-based news outfit Bharat Samachar. As per the forwarded message along with photos of the stabbed body of the woman and the video of the stabbing, the TV anchor was reportedly stabbed for her coverage about Kumbh mela and drawing comparisons with last year's Tablighi Jamaat incident. In her coverage, the TV anchor even went on to call Kumbh mela "corona atom bomb." Her explosive coverage drew some strong reactions, and the message about her murder was circulated widely on WhatsApp groups.
"Pragya Mishra murdered in broad daylight because she was talking in news about kumbh mela in the era of cornavirus," claimed a viral WhatsApp forward, which was accompanied by photos and video of the gruesome murder.
The video shows a man stab a woman at least 25 times after what appears to be an argument. The murder was recorded on camera, and showed no one stepping forward to help the victim. There were at least hundreds of bystanders.
Incidentally, the woman who was stabbed by a man had a similar dress as worn by the TV anchor during her reporting of the Kumbh mela. This led many to believe that the TV anchor was brutally murdered in broad daylight. Netizens have clueless about what happened to Pragya Mishra and wondering if the reports about attack on her are true.
International Business Times reviewed the videos in question and found the claim to be false. Firstly, we looked at the Twitter feed of Pragya Mishra, which is quite active. The last video featuring the TV anchor was shared on her channel "Ulta Chasma UC" less than 24 hours ago and a tweet from her account was posted minutes ago.
We also found the original incident that took place on April 10 in Delhi's Rohini and it is the same video that is being circulated on social media and on WhatsApp groups. The victim in the viral video was identified as 26-year-old Neelu, who worked at the Safdarjung Hospital, and the attacker was her husband Harish Mehta, who hacked her wife to death.
According to Delhi Police, the couple were from Rajkot in Gujarat and had been living in Delhi after their marriage eight months ago. The police believe Harish suspected his wife of infidelity, which led to the gruesome murder. Harish has been booked under Section 302 for murder under Indian Penal Code (IPC).
Upon close inspection, the dress worn by Pragya Mishra and the woman in the murder video are different and only closely resemble, ruling out the last hint that people nitpicked to start the rumours.
Earlier, the same video was given a communal spin, where some influential users on Twitter had shared the clip, saying the woman was stabbed for rejecting the Muslim man's proposal. DCP Delhi Rohini, IPS, cleared the air stating the facts about what had actually happened.
Based on these findings, IBTimes has arrived at the conclusion that the woman in the viral stabbing video is not Pragya Mishra.