Woman arrested with gun in Uttar Pradesh is neither Muslim nor a teacher, police said

Copyright AFP 2017-2022. All rights reserved.

A video of police frisking a woman to reveal a gun concealed in her clothes has been viewed thousands of times in Facebook and Twitter posts that claim it shows a "Muslim terrorist" arrested in India. However, the woman is Hindu and told police she carried the gun for her personal safety. Police also rejected reports the woman was a teacher.

"A Muslim teacher roaming around with a pistol in her jeans has been arrested in Mainpuri," reads a Hindi-language Facebook post shared on April 13.

Mainpuri is a city in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.

The video shows a police officer frisking a woman to reveal a gun hidden in her clothing.

A screenshot of the misleading post taken on April 19, 2022

Some social media users appeared to believe the woman was Muslim.

"She too came out as an Islamic terrorist," one person commented.

"Is she a girl or a walking form of death? What cunning mind, what houra does she want?" another wrote.

'Houra' appears to be a mocking reference to the Islamic 'houri', beautiful virgins said to await faithful Muslims in paradise.  

The video was shared in similar posts on Facebook here; and on Twitter here and here.

However, the posts are misleading.

A keyword search found news reports that identified the woman as Karishma Yadav.

Indian news channel NDTV reported that police in Firozabad, Uttar Pradesh stopped the woman on April 12 after they received a tip-off, and found she was carrying an improvised pistol.

'Hindu, not Muslim'

Contacted by AFP, Yadav said she was Hindu, not Muslim. She declined to comment further.

Yadav is a family name belonging to a Hindu community believed to be descended from Hindu deity Krishna.

A representative for Mainpuri police station also rejected claims the woman was a Muslim.

"Her name is Karishma Yadav and she is a Hindu, not a Muslim woman," the spokesperson told AFP.

The spokesperson said Yadav was released the same day of her arrest, and that an investigation was pending into why she was carrying the weapon.

"She said she kept it for self-defense and her safety but we are investigating if it was the real reason," they said.

The claim that Yadav was a teacher appears to originate from a police officer who told journalists after her arrest that it was "being said that she is a teacher" but that police did not "have complete information about that".

The Mainpuri police representative told AFP: "We never claimed that she is a teacher. We are repeatedly saying she is not."

Mainpuri Police also debunked the misleading claim on Twitter.

"An investigation on the above-mentioned incident found the woman is not a teacher," it wrote in Hindi in reply to a tweet sharing the misinformation.

"The police are investigating where she got the gun and why she was carrying it after her identification".

April 28, 2022 Update to correct the language of the headline following a technical bug.