With the fake news menace rising, a video that has gone viral on WhatsApp shows a school bus with several Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) inside it. In the video, several people can be heard shouting what translates to “Murder of democracy”.
What is the claim?
People are using this video to claim that BJP President Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have decided to rig the upcoming Lok Sabha elections by colluding with each other. People are claiming that this is the reason why the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is so confident that they will win.
The message, which is in Hindi and is being shared with the video, closely translates to “A school bus with no number plates and three Bolero jeeps carrying EVMs were caught transferring the machines to strong rooms at Madhya Pradesh’s (MP) Bina Bazar. None from the concerned authorities are able to explain what is happening. Probably, that is why Modi-Shah are so confident of forming the government again.”
The message further makes an appeal to citizens to share the video so that PM Modi’s reality and exposed and the democracy can be saved.
In the three-minute-long video people can be seen capturing what is going on at the scene using mobile cameras. One man can also be heard shouting “The minister is murdering our democracy”. Meanwhile, others are wondering why the bus is carrying so many EVMs.
Breaking News Modi, shah, chunaaw aayog ki mili bhagat ki khuli pol.Madhya Pradesh ke beena bazar mein bina number ki school bus aur 3 bolero jeep mein sawwaon 100 ki tadaad mein EVM MACHINE strong room mein rakhte hue pakdegaye.Koi bhi zimmedaar officer jawab nahin de parahan hai tabhi to Modi aur Shah danke ki chot par kehte hai ki sarkar hamari hi banegi.Saathiyon is video ko zyada se zyada share kare taake haramiyon ka pata public ko maloom hojaye.
Abdullah Bin Ghalib ಅವರಿಂದ ಈ ದಿನದಂದು ಪೋಸ್ಟ್ ಮಾಡಲಾಗಿದೆ ಭಾನುವಾರ, ಮಾರ್ಚ್ 31, 2019
What is the truth?
This video was shot two days after the end of voting in Madhya Pradesh during the state’s Assembly Elections in November 2018. At a collection centre in Sagar, a school bus carrying EVMs had been caught. Back then, the chief electoral commissioner of Madhya Pradesh had claimed that EVMs in the bus had been kept as “reserved”.
The Times Of India found an NDTV report dated December 1, 2018, using keywords ‘Bina Madhya Pradesh’. This report carries visuals from the same video. According to the report, this incident took place 48 hours after the voting concluded.
There was also an English version of the same report on NDTV. In the report, officials are quoted as saying that these EVMs had been kept aside in case they are needed during a technical snag, but had not been used for voting.
In a follow-up story, The Times Of India mentioned that a naib tehsildar was suspended after the EVM row over delay of 48 hours in handing over reserved EVMs. This was done on recommendation of the district electoral officer.
“Two vehicles, including a school bus reached Sagar from Khurai, barely 25 km from district headquarters, to deliver 37 reserved EVMs, two days after the polling. The school bus did not have any registration number,” District collector Alok Singh had then said.
The MP Congress Twitter handle had reacted by questioning whether the government was conspiring to make BJP win.
मप्र के गृहमंत्री के क्षेत्र में मतदान के 48 घंटे बाद बिना नंबर की गाड़ी से ईवीएम स्ट्रांग रूम में जमा कराने का प्रयास हुआ।
—भाजपा को जिताने के लिये ईवीएम बदलने की सरकारी साज़िश..?
कलेक्टर, एसपी समेत निर्वाचन कार्य में लगे तमाम लोगों पर सख़्त कार्यवाही कर लोकतंत्र की रक्षा हो। pic.twitter.com/lj588NdyA5
— MP Congress (@INCMP) November 30, 2018
The CEO MP elections Twitter handle clarified after this that the EVMs were kept as ‘Reserve’.
These are EVMs kept as 'Reserve' stationed at some Police stations, to be used as replacement for malfunctioning machines during Poll. Such machines were to be stored separately from polled EVMs. Strong room having Polled EVMs was neither opened nor was supposed to be opened. https://t.co/usco7xQpD1
— CEOMPElections (@CEOMPElections) November 30, 2018
The Logical Indian take
As citizens of the country, we have a certain responsibility. While trolls and parody accounts have taken the responsibility upon themselves to share as much false information as possible, it is our responsibility to differentiate between what is true and what isn’t, while making others aware about the issue too.
Creating or sharing fake news is never justified. We have a responsibility to verify everything that we post on the internet. To ensure that our national debate is healthy and well-informed, each and every one of us has a responsibility of treating what we read with a pinch of salt, a spoonful of doubt, and a flood of research.