Six silly, but dangerous rumors making the rounds on social media since the last three days
As pointed out in Sunday Guardian’s recent article, Lutyens zone is working day and night to derail Modi Government’s every good decision. Opposition parties, libtards, overexcited friends, and individuals with leftist mindset are spreading baseless, silly, and thoughtless rumors since Modi Government’s biggest crackdown on black money.
These rumors are good enough to create doubt about government’s intentions and spread panic among the people. Let’s take a look at six factually incorrect stories that are being shared on news channels (mostly regional) as well as social media in the form of posts.
- Bank locker holders would be forced to open them in presence of revenue officials
This is something that even senior Income Tax Advocates have been discussing since November 8. The post suggests that government plans to open lockers and check the amount of gold that locker holders own. Gold is often passed from one generation to the other. Hence, even financially poor families may own more than 600 grams of gold passed on from the previous generations.
Confusion continued until November 10. On the same day, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley was questioned by a journalist about this issue during the Economic Editors’ Conference. He clarified that the government does not plan to take such step and people should stop believing in such rumors.
- Fake letters from motor and bus transporters’ associations
There are several screenshots of fake letters claiming to be from transporters association. These screenshots talk about how transporters are facing difficulty at toll booths, fuel stations, and while paying labor charges due to unavailability of 500 and 1000 notes.
Messages along with such letter urge people to buy groceries as transporters may go on strike due to demonetization of 500 and 1000 rupees notes.
Most of the state and national transport bodies have clarified that they do not intent to go on strike, as of now, while writing this article.
The government has already declared that no toll will be charged until midnight of November 14, and this deadline is expected to be extended even further. Plus, fuel pumps accept payments using debit and credit cards as well. Thus, most of the points mentioned in such letters seem illogical.
- Fake currency notes
Perhaps, the silliest rumor is that about fake note of 2000 rupees that looks exactly like the new one released by RBI. A Whatsapp message claims that new notes lack security features. Surprisingly, Marathi news channels like Zee 24 Taas, TV9 Maharashtra, and ABP Majha (all are leftist) made news stories based on this rumor. Their crappy reports can easily create panic among people who only watch Marathi language news. Why can’t their researchers simply Google and check before airing such news based on Whatsapp messages? Even if they are proved to be incorrect, what the best they would do is apologize for incorrect reporting, and get away claiming they are the fourth pillar of democracy.
The Hindu had published a detailed article about security features in the new notes. New ones have all the old security features and some additional ones as well.
- Insufficient amount of salt available in the market
Notorious elements (probably political) started spreading the word that some states are facing a huge shortage of salt. Perhaps, some traders decided to take advantage of this rumor and increased salt prices, but the center immediately took steps and declared that there is sufficient stock of salt in all states across India. Authorities also declared that traders and shops selling salt at inflated prices may face immediate arrest. State governments have asked senior police officials to take strict action against those selling salt at inflated prices.
As per prices reported by centres from across country, there has been no increase in price of salt,no report about disruption in production
— ANI (@ANI_news) November 11, 2016
— Nirmala Sitharaman (@nsitharaman) November 11, 2016
1. No shortage in the supply of edible salt.Baseless rumors being spread. Salt Commissioner& Jt.Secretary Shri Raghavendra monitoring ….
— Nirmala Sitharaman (@nsitharaman) November 11, 2016
- BJP leaders and their relatives had access to new notes before the public
This is perhaps the most popular rumor making the rounds on social networking sites and Whatsapp. Photo of a nationalized bank employee holding bundle of new 2000 rupees notes was being circulated as a picture of BJP office bearer’s daughter. Members of the Congress and AAP were caught circulating this image. Some of these hypocrites removed their tweets as soon as news sites reported that the concerned girl is a bank employee.
Any nationalized bank employee would be able to clarify that people in the banking sector knew about new 2000 rupees notes printed in October. However, no one, yes, no one including RBI’s staff, was aware that old 500 and 1000 rupees notes would be withdrawn from the market.
Thus, it won’t be wrong to say that even BJP workers had no idea about the demonetization drive. In Fact, party’s Mumbai unit openly showed its displeasure against the demonetization drive as per the article published by the Times of India.
- Protests against demonetization drive outside banks and ATMs
As mentioned in the earlier point, even some regional channels are turning Whatsapp messages into news stories. It would be better if everyone simply ignores news stories about protests; riots outside banks/ATMs unless the story is released by reputed English news channel (except those run by journalists involved in 2G scam of course). From my personal experience, I can say that English news channels are much more reliable than regional ones.
No doubt that people are facing inconvenience while withdrawing money. But, the RBI has clearly declared that it’s working to increase the availability of currency. Daily and weekly withdrawal limits are set to be adjusted from time to time.
Reports and surveys have already proved that most of the Indians are happy with the government’s move in spite of the inconvenience that they are facing. So, just ignore all those photos released by political party spokespersons.
Believe it or not, but there are people who have Rs. 500 crore set as a budget for spreading factually incorrect information. One should avoid believing in each and every message forwarded on social networking sites. Cross-check news stories from (reliable) multiple sources before spreading them further; else, you might end-up creating panic.
By: Nitten Gokhaley
The author is a consultant journalist; you can follow him on Twitter- @nitten4u