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Hoax - 'Punjab Rape Festival'

Circulating message claims that an annual event called the Punjab Rape Festival starts in India "this week".

Punjab Hoax icetray

Brief Analysis
There is no such event as the Punjab Rape Festival. The story originated as a satirical article published on the Super Official News website. The author explains that he wrote the story as an activism piece to raise awareness about the plight of young rape victims in India.

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Punjab Rape Festival

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Detailed Analysis
This message, couched as a news article, has been circulating via blogs, social media outlets and email since January 2013. The message claims that an an Indian based event known as the Punjab Rape Festival is set to start this week. The article claims that the festival is a tradition dating back thousands of years. All the way back to 43 BC no less.

However, the claims in the message are - of course - utter nonsense. There is no such event as the Punjab Rape Festival. The story was simply made up by Jimmy Rustling of the satirical "news" website, Super Official News and published there on January 8, 2013.

Later in January, the author responded to calls to remove the article via the following post on his Facebook Page:

I've been getting emails from people saying that I should remove my story entitled, "The Punjab Rape Festival In India Begins This Week." 

The point of the story was an activism piece to educate people about what is going on over there on a daily basis, because a lot of people don't know. I read everything I can get my hands on and every day there's another story about another horrible rape or murder of a young girl in India.... usually where the guy gets off, not being punished, or worse, where the victim is forced to marry her attacker.

So I wrote up the most exaggerated, ridiculous thing I could think of... it gets people to pass around the story and then question what's going on over there if they didn't already know. A simple Google search of "Punjab rape" brings up 100+ different stories of young girls getting raped, murdered, forced to marry the man who raped them... it's disgusting.

Anyway, that's the point of the story and I'm not pulling the article.

In an email to me about the story, the author also notes:

One of the other MAJOR factors for doing the story was collecting money for the women of India for schooling, clothes, help in leaving abusive situations. So, a few months ago I added this to the bottom of the story:

Click here to learn more.

I checked out that charity thoroughly. They are 100% legit giving 90-95% of collected funds to the cause.

Despite its obvious falsity, the story has caused a great deal of angst and consternation during its journey. Many commentators have decried the supposed event and called for its immediate termination, apparently not realizing that there is no such event and never was. And, predictably, some pranksters have added fuel to the fire by defending the festival and claiming that they are looking forward to participating.

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Last updated: March 21, 2013
First published: March 21, 2013
By Brett M. Christensen
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