Of late, there has been news of fake viral posts that are doing rounds on social media where men, apparently from one specific community, are shown spitting on foods, currency notes and on roads. All such posts are being falsely attributed to men from the Muslim community.
Blame our gullibility or lack of time, many people are taking such posts on its face value without ascertaining if it is true or a ploy of someone to fuel communal hatred in the society.
Despite the fact-checking website Altnews debunking the falsity of such post, similar articles are still being circulated on social media.
Recently a man was arrested for morphing the confidential letter of ACP, the crime branch of Ahmedabad police, in which he asked the people of Vadodara city not to buy things from Muslims vendors as they might be spreading COVID-19 by spitting on produce or currency notes. Such incidents do not only instil fear in the mind of others but also instigate communal hatred.
Post to spur communal hatred
The impacts of such actions are not only limited to people who implicitly trust such forwarded messages on social media but many a times journalists too get snared in the vortex of such misleading posts.
In one such incident, a reporter asked Jharkhand DGP Mandava V Rao, about the alleged incidents of people spitting on others or things in order to spread coronavirus.
Jharkhand DGP Mr. @MVRaoIPS answering to media when a reporter asks him about 'Spitting' controversy. Looks like reporter wasn't very pleased when he replied, 'Kispe thuka gaya usko identify kiya aap log?? Pehle unko samne lao Jispe thooka gaya' ?? pic.twitter.com/JdB7rlsIXu— Mohammed Zubair (@zoo_bear) April 11, 2020
Like many, the reporter might have believed that it's a true incident and a rampant occurrence. But those in charge of the investigation and ensure the safety and security of people, the police, are not aware of any such incidents themselves; for the obvious reason that such incident didn't ever happen, at least, not in India.
Jharkhand DGP quells rumormongering
In the video, the DGP called out the anti-social elements for spreading false news of certain people spreading coronavirus. Calling it absolutely incorrect, he asked people not to believe any such rumours. He said strict action would be taken against those spreading lies.
The officer also denied knowing of any "spitting" incidents and asked the reporter to bring forward any such person on whom someone spat with the intention of infecting him/her with COVID-19. He said the police is looking for persons on whom such acts had been done to even begin the investigation, and that without having an evidence the police can't do anything.
The DGP ended his remarks by sharing some age-old wisdom for all of us to ponder-do not cut off your nose to spite your face!