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Kathua case: Innocent’s picture appears in place of namesake accused on Facebook

One of the accused in Kathua rape-murder case is Vishal Jangotra, while picture appearing on some Facebook posts is that of Vishal Sharma

SP Sharma | Jammu |

An innocent Vishal Sharma is scared and has confined himself to the four walls of his house as his pictures have gone viral on the social media labelling him as one of the accused in the infamous incident of rape-murder of an eight-year-old girl belonging to a nomadic tribe in the Kathua district.

The 22-year-old footballer, Vishal, who resides in the Kootah village in Kathua that hit headlines when several Hindu families migrated there following the ugly incident of rape-murder of the minor girl in Rasana, has deactivated his Facebook account as he was being abused by his friends and relatives for being “involved” in the crime which he was unaware of until he started receiving nasty posts on his social media account.

The actual position was that Vishal’s namesake Vishal Jangotra has been arrested and named as one of the eight accused in the heinous crime.

However, several popular Facebook pages pasted Vishal Sharma’s pictures along with those of other accused. One of the Facebook posts carrying Vishal Sharma’s picture read: “Meet four Monsters. Shame them! Defame them!”

Vishal Jangotra is son of prime suspect Sanji Ram, a former revenue officer who has also been arrested by the crime branch of the J-K Police for alleged involvement in the case of rape-murder of the girl.

A frightened Vishal Sharma was taking all abuses when his football coach Arun Pal Singh persuaded him to approach the police and bring the matter to their notice.

Singh said that he was upset when he saw Vishal Sharma’s picture on some Facebook accounts, accusing him of being a “rapist”. The boy made rounds of police stations of his area, crime branch and the cyber crime cell, but no one came to his rescue. However, a cyber crime cell officer on Tuesday guided him to first register an FIR in the police station of his native area after which the cyber crime cell could identify the mischief mongers and take action against them.

Legal expert Avish Sharma said that those who indulged in the mischief can be imprisoned for three years under various sections of the IT Act.

Vishal Sharma said that he started getting phone calls from his friends from areas as far as Mumbai. He realised that some people had irresponsibly posted his photo instead of that of Vishal Jangotra on their Facebook pages.

Vishal Sharma runs a canteen in a nearby school where he has stopped going after his picture with a “tilak” on his forehead went viral. Vishal’s father, Omkar Dass, who is a daily wage worker, is a broken man as he was being abused and insulted in his native place because of the blunder on the Facebook.

He lamented that his son was being looked with suspicion for no fault of his and the crime that has allegedly been committed by his namesake. Vishal Jangotra was arrested on 17 March as the police found his selfie that he had posted on his Facebook page. However, his namesake Vishal Sharma was facing the music.