FACT CHECK: The person in the viral image is not Phoolan Devi

Misleading Social

A collage of two images going viral across social media platforms claims that the person in both the images is former MP Phoolan Devi. The text in the image has the text 

“She Was Phoolan Devi She Was Raped By Her Upper Caste Husband 3 Times Older Than Her Age In Front Of Her Parents

She Was Jailed, Accused & Gang Raped By Many Policemen But Nobody Was Shocked. Then She Killed All 12 Rapists & The Whole India Was Shocked. She Did Something Very Deserving & Extraordinary. Proud Of Her <3 “

The person in the image on the right is wearing a black outfit and spectacles and in the image on the left is wearing a khakhi outfit with a red cloth tied around the head.

Here are some such posts:

Facebook Post | Archived Link | Archived Link

Facebook Post | Archived Link | Archived Link

Facebook Post | Archived Link | Archived Link

Fact Crescendo found that the claim is False as the person in the images is not Phoolan Devi but, is Actress Seema Biswas instead. Biswas had essayed Phoolan Devi’s character in director Shekhar Gupta’s feature film “Bandit Queen”.

Fact Check Methodology

At first we ran a Google Reverse image search with the image on the left. We were led to an article published on May, 2019 in the lifestyle and pop culture website Scoop Whoop with the headline “If You’re Struggling To Find A ‘Good’ Biopic To Watch, Here’s A List.” We saw that this same image has been shared under the entry “Bandit Queen.” The description states that Seema Biswas had played the titular character which means the image is of Seema Biswas.

Screenshot, ScoopWhoop article

Scoop Whoop link

Following this, we ran a reverse image search with the other image and saw that it is also of Actress Seema Biswas. We found a page on Wikimedia Commons about the actor where the same image has been used. 

Screenshot, Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons link

Following this, we looked up Phoolan Devi on Google and came across an article published in August 2015 on India Today with the headline “Remembering the Bandit Queen: 10 things to know about Phoolan Devi.” The article has a number of images of the slain MP and from the images it is clear that the person in the viral image is not Phoolan Devi.

Screenshot, India Today article

India Today Link

Who is Phoolan Devi: Phoolan Devi was a female rights activist, bandit and politician from the Samajwadi Party who later served as a Member of Parliament. Her story up to her surrender was immortalized through Mala Sen’s 1993 book India’s Bandit Queen: The True Story of Phoolan Devi followed by a controversial feature film “Bandit Queen” by director Shekhar Gupta. She was assassinated in 2001. Wikipedia states: “she was born into a poor family in rural Uttar Pradesh, and endured poverty, child marriage and had an abusive marriage before taking to a life of crime.”

Conclusion

From the above Fact Check, it is clear that the person in the images in the viral collage is not Phoolan Devi but is Actress Seema Biswas who had portrayed the character of the slain MP in the movie “Bandit Queen.” The claim is Misleading.

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Title:The person in the viral image is not Phoolan Devi

Fact Check By: Manjori Borkotoky 

Result: Misleading