Congress MP Rahul Gandhi on Thursday told the Delhi High Court that he will delete his social media post that revealed the identity of a nine-year-old Dalit girl, who was allegedly raped and killed in 2021, Bar and Bench reported.

The court was hearing a petition by an activist Makrand Suresh Mhadlekar against Gandhi’s tweets in which he had posted the photos of the child’s parents.

Mhadlekar had argued that the photos revealed the identity of the child, and therefore, the social media post violated the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012.

On August 4, 2021, Gandhi had met the parents of the nine-year-old girl and shared a picture of himself with her parents on X, which was then named Twitter. The social media platform had removed the post and “temporarily locked” the Congress leader’s account for a week.

An account is locked if it violates its rules or appears to be compromised, according to the social media platform.

“If we have to protect the identity of the victim, it is necessary to do so all over the world,” the High Court said on Thursday, reported The Hindu. “Why don’t you [Gandhi] take it down? Please take down your [social media] post because worldwide it must come down...otherwise it will be picked up by the press all over the world. It can’t be done like this.”

Gandhi’s counsel told the court that the post will be removed.

Meanwhile, the Delhi Police on Thursday sought permission to file a status report in a sealed cover saying that there was no scientific evidence to conclude that the girl had been raped, reported Bar and Bench.

The police said that unless the crime of rape was proven, the act of revealing the identity of the child does not amount to a violation of law.

However, Senior Advocate Mahesh Jethmalani, representing the petitioner, contended that when then social media post was made, “it was alleged and all the information available with the police was of rape”.

“At that time she was a rape victim,” Jethmalani said. “Tomorrow the case may abate. Four people have been arrested for rape in this case. If they [Delhi Police] think she was not raped, they must file a closure report”.

The case

The nine-year-old Dalit girl was allegedly raped, murdered and forcibly cremated on August 1, 2021 at a crematorium in Delhi’s Cantonment area.

Four persons Radhey Shyam, Kuldeep Singh, Laxmi Narayan and Salim Ahmed were arrested the next day of the crime. While Shyam is a priest at the crematorium where the minor was assaulted, the other three men are acquaintances of the girl’s mother.

In a chargesheet submitted to Delhi’s Patiala House court in 2021, the police had said that the girl died due to suffocation during the sexual assault. The police also said that Shyam, the main accused, had sexually assaulted the minor girl in the past also.