The menace of fake news is refusing to die down. And with the flourishing social media, the reach of these fake news is increasing exponentially. These fake pieces of information travel faster than we imagine, with only one click it can spread all over the social media. At times, many politically inclined groups or individuals use these fake news to spread a false narrative and propaganda. There have been scores of incidents this year alone when such forwards have caused violence and disharmony among people.
In the past few days too such incorrect pieces of information have made their way to social media. Here, The Logical Indian aims at busting a few of them.
Did 46-year-old Sri Lankan woman enter Sabarimala temple?
The Sabarimala row is making headlines almost every day. While thousands of woman are demanding their right to enter the temple post the Supreme court’s historic verdict, several fake news involving woman’s entrance to the hilltop shrine is also making the rounds.
On January 2, in first, two women below the age of 50, offered prayers at Sabarimala temple. Soon after this positive news, there was a claim that a 46-year-old Sri Lankan woman entered the Sabarimala shrine and worshipped the deity on January 3.
Many mainstream media houses posted the news claiming it to be true, however, it seems the news is not completely true.
The Hindu-a reputed English newspaper daily reported that the women identified as Sasikala, daughter of Asok Kumaran, who holds a Sri Lankan passport could also make the entry to the shrine and offer prayers. According to The Hindu, the Kerala Police sources had told the newspaper that the woman entered the shrine on Thursday night.
“Sasikala had walked up the ’18 Holy Steps’ without any hindrance and offered her prayers at the sanctum,” claimed the newspaper. The Times of India also said that the woman accompanied by plain-clothed police officers prayed at the temple and went back to Pamba smoothly.
However, the woman herself has denied the claims of she entering the temple. While talking to a TV channel she claimed that she was not allowed to enter the temple. Her husband told the media that they could go only till Marakootam, which is 1 km away from the sanctum. While the husband and son could offer prayers, Sasikala was sent back.
She said, “I am a devotee. I wanted to pray, I had completed the 48-day vratham (penance), who are they to send me back?” reported The News Minute.
She also claimed that she has all the rights to enter the temple as she has also gotten her uterus removed for medical reasons. “I am a devotee, I have a medical certificate,” she added.
After the news broke out, The Hindu reached out to the Kerala police who reconfirmed that woman has offered prayers at the Lord Ayyappa temple on Thursday night. They claim that they have CCTV footage to prove her entry to the shrine and they are ready to produce it to a court or any competent legal authority if necessary. However, they do not wish to publically challenge the woman version as they claim that it is her right to privacy to not disclose about her visit to the temple. On the other hand, the Sri Lankan woman is still denying her entry. She further said that the police dissuaded her while entering the temple.
Rs 2,000 note printing to be stopped?
On the eve of November 8, Prime Minister Modi in an “unprecedented move” announced demonetisation, banning notes of Rs 1000 and Rs 500, which constituted 86 per cent of Indian currency. And new currency of Rs 2,000 was launched by the Modi government. But for a long time, there have been several fake news that are going viral on the social media regarding the new notes, including claims of them having a microchip.
Recently, a claim has been going viral that the Rs 2,000 note has been stopped and that the note will be gradually phased out from circulation.
The Print– a digital news platform on January 3 reported, ‘India stops printing Rs 2,000 note, two years after its shock launch’.
Soon many people posted on twitter about the note being banned.
It was a foolish decision to ban 500, 1000 and print 2000. But people at that time “how could Modi go wrong”? India stops printing Rs 2,000 note, two years after its shock launch https://t.co/mWobnzLI1C via @ThePrintIndia
— Sameer Khan (@SamKhan999) January 3, 2019
Is the Central government quietly planning another round of demonetisation? A large number of people believe the Rs 2,000 note will be scrapped. Now the talk has… https://t.co/pbX5OWraYI
— bhaskar (@netbhas) January 3, 2019
@drnigam15 I saw ur debate on ndtv and u said that 2000 rs note will ban near future but nidhi and others didn't take serious but today I saw a news at print and I think u r right
Here is the linkhttps://t.co/IQ1LnstlGx
— Prashant Gadwal (@gadwal_prashant) January 3, 2019
Classic modinomics. Ban rs 1000 note in the name of black money. Then launch Rs 2000 notes to assist even more black money. Now, stop printing it just before elections #Demonetisation was a genius move https://t.co/dIOvOaToRG via @ThePrintIndia
— Raghav Chopra (@AarSee) January 3, 2019
Soon after this Economic Affairs Secretary Subhash Chandra Garg on January 4, issued a statement putting rumours to rest. He claimed that there is an adequate number of Rs 2,000 notes in circulation. “We have more than adequate notes of Rs 2,000 in the system. Over 35 per cent of notes by value in the circulation of Rs 2,000 denomination,” he added. He further said that for now “no decision” has been taken regarding the production of Rs 2,000 notes.
Printing of notes is planned as per the projected requirement. We have more than adequate notes of Rs 2000 in the system with over 35% of notes by value in circulation being of Rs 2000. There has been no decision regarding 2000 rupee note production recently.
— Subhash Chandra Garg (@SecretaryDEA) January 4, 2019
Similar misleading news was also going around earlier this year that Rs 1,000 notes are going to be back and Rs 2,000 notes would be banned which also stands false.
Is Nirmala Sitharaman’s daughter an army officer?
In another fake news on December 30, the Facebook group ‘We Support Narendra Modi’ shared a picture of Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman standing with a young woman in an Indian Army uniform.
According to the Facebook group, the woman officer was said to be the daughter of the Union Minister. The caption of the picture said, “Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman with her daughter, Jai Hindi. Jai Bharat”. The viral post got 15,000 likes and over 800 shares.
Another Facebook page ‘भा.ज.पा : Mission 2019’ shared the same photograph with the identical claim. Its post attracted over 7,000 likes and 700 shares.
Several other posted the picture on Twitter with the identical claim.
Raksha mantri nirmala sitaraman madam with her daughter pic.twitter.com/s2Y7aF3YX7
— mhatre (@HemantM22009104) January 1, 2019
No son or daughter of political leaders is in the Army except daughter of Defence Minister Nirmala Sitaraman.Many Cogress leaders are millioners who made money by fair or foul means, some of them have BENAMI.They have learnt the Art.
— GPS Sirohi (@GpsSirohi) January 3, 2019
Many other BJP leaders circulated the post, some of these people are also followed by BJP President Amit Shah and the party’s spokesperson Sambit Patra.
Soon after the post went viral, the Principal Spokesperson of the Defense Ministry tweeted the post, busting the viral claims of the young woman being Sitharaman’s daughter. They clarified that the photograph was shot during an official visit of the Defense Minister at the request of the army officer.
"CLARIFICATION". This is the photograph clicked at the request of the Army officer appointed as the LO to the RM during an official visit. She is NOT the daughter of the RM as suggested in some social media platforms pic.twitter.com/mkBQt2dLCK
— Defence Spokesperson (@SpokespersonMoD) January 2, 2019
The viral claims were first debunked by Boomlive, which found that the officer in the photograph is Nikita Veeraiah. While Sitharaman’s daughter’s name is Vangmayi Parakala.
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.
To all the political parties and leaders, ruling or opposition, please don’t be a part of the problem. Be part of the solution. For a better future, for a better nation.