English, Fake News
 

Photo of DU student from Telangana falsely shared as she committing suicide over non-postponement of exams

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A post is being widely shared on social media claiming that Sunitha, a Telangana student, had committed suicide. The post also claims that she died because of non-postponement of offline B-Tech exams and that Telangana Government is responsible for her death. Let us fact-check the claim made in the post.

The archived version of the post can be seen here.

Claim: Sunitha, a student from Telangana who ended her life due to non-postponement of B-Tech exams.

Fact: The girl in the photo is very much alive and her name is Sankeerthana, not Sunitha. She is currently pursuing B.Com (Hons) from Delhi University and not B.Tech from JNTU Hyderabad. FACTLY had reached out to the Circle Inspector of KPHB Police Station, S. Laxmi Narayana and he confirmed that no suicide cases were reported from JNTU Hyderabad on 01 July 2021 (the date mentioned in the suicide note). There are no recent news reports from Telangana about any suicide of a B.Tech student due to non-postponement of exams. Hence, the claim made in the post is FALSE.

When reverse image search is done on the image of the woman in the picture, a ‘Telangana Today’ news article with the same image was found. In the article titled, ‘Daughters of Telangana script success stories’ published on 25 January 2021, it says the girl’s name is Sankeerthana and not Sunitha. Sankeerthana, who secured 942 out of 1000 in the Intermediate was a student of Telangana Social Welfare Residential Educational Institution and is gearing up to fly out to Australia to pursue her under-graduation. Sankeerthana’s Father is a small farmer in Karimnagar, while her mother is a housewife. So, the person in the image is Sankeerthana and not Sunitha.

A Twitter handle named ‘Girish Mintu’ posted a clarification video featuring her and requested not to spread fake news. The girl in the video claims that the person in the photo is her and identifies herself as Sankeerthana. She confirms that the blurred image of a woman supposedly hanging from a ceiling fan, and a suicide note, does not belong to her. She even requests not to spread such fake news. A person claiming to be Sankeerthana’s brother says her sister is very much alive and that she is not a B.Tech student.

India Today has reached out to Sankeerthana, who is now pursuing B.Com (Hons) at Delhi University. Refuting the viral claims, she said, “I am currently doing my first year in B.Com (Hons) from Delhi University. I am not a B.Tech student as claimed in the post. Also, the death note shared along with my picture is not written by me. Due to the COVID-19 situation, there is no certainty when I can leave for Australia. So, I decided to join Delhi University.”

Several students from Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University (JNTU) Hyderabad, Telangana were protesting against the varsity’s decision to conduct offline exams from 02 July 2021. Therefore, this post with the suicide note to postpone exams became viral in light of these protests, with the hashtag #jntuhupdates. No news reports were found about any suicide of a B.Tech student due to non-postponement of exams in Telangana.

FACTLY had reached out to the Circle Inspector of KPHB Police Station, S. Laxmi Narayana. The Inspector confirmed to us that there were no suicide cases that were reported from JNTU Hyderabad on 01 July 2021 (the date mentioned in the suicide note) or recently amidst the protests. JNTU Hyderabad comes under the purview of the KPHB Police Station. Further, there are no recent reports of any such suicide by a JNTU Hyderabad student from Telangana.

To sum it up, photo of a DU student from Telangana is falsely shared with a claim that she ended her life over non-postponement of exams.

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