Hyderabad: An image of a woman wrapped in barbed wires and metal sheets is viral on social media with a claim that she is protesting against the BJP government for failing to protect women in the wake of the Hathras rape case.
A Twitter user posted this picture on September 30, 2020 and upon translation the tweet reads, "This picture is a slap to the Prime Minister and the BJP government, which will be heard by the entire world, #In addition to the BJP. This woman has given this message by wrapping her entire body with barbed wires, in connection with the increasing incidents of rape in India. That women are not safe in the BJP government…! https://t.co/Sm2tfqPgBk" . (archived tweet)
This claim is false.
Newsmeter performed a reverse image search and found an article by The Hans India in 2019 which misled the readers by claiming that "This is how Indian women are feeling right now to go out, in the light of a horrifying gang-rape and murder of a 27-year-old veterinary doctor in Hyderabad". However, this is a wrong narrative by Hans India but proves that the picture is old and not related to the Hathras rape case.
Newsmeter then found a YouTube video which shows the lady in the viral video in the same attire showcasing the Osariya, which is a traditional dress in Sri Lanka.
Using this information, a keyword search was performed and a blog named 'ARTFARMSRILANKA' was found which had the same image published in 2015 under the title, "Art bursting from the seams". The photo caption in the article reads, "Traditional formal dress — of sheet metal and barbed wire!". Not only does this prove that the picture is five years old but also that it is part of an art form.
The official website of the woman in the picture was also found where she identified herself as Janani Cooray who is a multi-skilled artist from Colombo and one of the first performance artistes in Sri Lanka and a graduate of University of Visual and Performing Arts.
On the page titled "Osariya", she posted pictures of the same attire from different angles and a YouTube video as well which furnishes the fact that she dressed in the attire in connection to a performance art and had no link to the rape case.
In view of the above information, it is clear that the pictures are old and related to Osariya and that the claim on social media is false.