Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday, May 5, said that some people were spreading "deadly viruses" such as terrorism, fake news, and doctored videos in order to divide communities and countries. During his first address to the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit since assuming office in 2014, PM Modi said," While the world fights COVID, some people are spreading deadly viruses such as terrorism, fake news & doctored videos to divide communities and countries. But let's focus on positives. What we can do together to help the world fight this health crisis."

PM Modi on virtual meet with CMs: Image:Twitter

PM Modi addresses NAM Summit

  • PM Modi said the Non Aligned Movement can help promote global solidarity and it must remain inclusive.
  • He said humanity is facing a major crisis in the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic and NAM can contribute to deal with it.
  • The Prime Minister also said that the world needs a new template of globalisation post-COVID-19 based on fairness, equality and humanity.
  • Without naming Pak, PM Modi also slammed the country whose president Arif Alvi had earlier used the NAM platform to accuse India of inciting hate speeches against the country's Muslims.
  • Modi asked NAM countries to stand together to ensure that the international community and the WHO focus on building health capacities in developing countries.

The prime minister's remarks have come at a time when fake news and videos are being spread on social media to spread communal hatred. However, some of Prime Minister Modi's own party leaders have often been accused of spreading fake news. Recently, a prominent BJP leader and spokesperson Sambit Patra had tweeted a video claiming that a Muslim vegetable vendor in UP's Bijnor was spraying urine on vegetables.

Bijnor SP busts Sambit Patra's fake video

The video turned out to be fake and Bijnor SP LN Mishra said that the man had urinated and then washed his hands from a bottle of water. He drunk from the same bottle used to wash hands and also sprinkled water on vegetables. 

This was just one example and many leaders from ruling BJP are often caught sharing fake news on social media. Anima Sonkar, Delhi state joint secretary of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party's student wing ABVP shared fake news that Indian multinational pharmaceutical and biotechnology company Cipla has been charging Rs 120 for a 100 ml bottle of hand sanitiser, which was earlier priced at just Rs 50. She apparently tried to give it a communal angle as well and dragged the name of the company's founder Yusuf Khawaja Hamied and called him a "crook". Later, the company debunked her claim and she reportedly deleted her tweet.

The Opposition Congress party has also accused the BJP of spreading the "virus of communal hatred" in the times of coronavirus pandemic. Recently, Congress leader Sonia Gandhi said that the BJP has done great damage to the social harmony of the country and that it will take a lot of hard work to repair that.

Doctored, old videos being used to flare communal wage

Since the pandemic, several Bijnor type videos showing Muslim fruits and vegetable vendors have been shared with the narrative that the minority community is deliberately spreading the coronavirus. Recently, an Uttar Pradesh BJP MLA was caught on tape asking people no to buy vegetables and fruits from Muslim vendors.

The issue also reached Arab countries and Princess Hend Al Qassimi, a member of the royal family of the United Arab Emirates had also flagged the issue. The UAE princess urged the prime minister to take action to end communal hatred.

"I refuse to be quiet in the midst of this war. The oppression against the Muslims, Christians and other minorities in India must stop. I am surprised it was allowed to start and thrive openly like this and I hope it will be halted," one of her tweets read.