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Christian couple stripped for preaching gospel? No, photo shows naked protest by Dalit family

A screengrab of an article doing the rounds on Facebook in Nigeria claims a Christian couple were stripped naked in India. It shows a naked man and woman, with a small clothed child, ringed by a crowd of people.

The text reads: “BREAKING NEWS. Please pray for the Christian Pastor and his wife, being humiliated by Indians in Utter Pradesh – India, for preaching the Gospel. They were make naked and march around town as punishment.”

The image has been shared more than 6,700 times, and repeatedly flagged by Facebook’s fact-checking system.

Stripped naked to protest against police

A Google image search reveals the photo is a cropped version of a larger image first published in an October 2015 article on India Today with the caption: “The Dalit family stripped to protest police's alleged refusal to register a complaint of robbery.”

The bigger photo shows two other naked people. The article says five family members were arrested on 8 October 2015 after “they allegedly stripped in a market in Dankaur” to “protest the police's alleged refusal to register a complaint of robbery”.

Dankaur is a town in northern India, in the Gautam Buddha Nagar District of the state of Uttar Pradesh – not Utter Pradesh.

Protest related to caste rights abuse

The article says the family were members of the Dalit caste, the lowest and “untouchable” level in India’s traditional caste system.

After a video of their protest went viral on social media in India, the family were visited by a team from the country’s National Commission for Scheduled Castes, which investigates human rights abuses.

The photo has also been used to incorrectly claim the family were forcibly stripped by Uttar Pradesh police. This was debunked by Social Media Hoax Slayer in October 2016.

The image does not show a Christian pastor and his wife stripped naked for “preaching the gospel”. The storyline in the screengrab is completely made up. – Africa Check (15/05/19)

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