Fact Check: WhatsApp Forwards Claim Mullaperiyar Dam In Kerala About To Break, Govt To Nab Rumour Mongers
With the situation in Kerala is already “grim” as told by the Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, rumour mongers are spreading fake news over WhatsApp to further fuel panic amongst people in the flood-stricken state.
In the last couple of days, people residing in Idukki district, Kerala are living with fear after unverified messages on social media claimed that Mullaperiyar dam, which has already reached the full reservoir level of 142 feet, has developed cracks. Such messages warning of dire consequences in the vicinity of the dam has made the Kerala government issue warning to rumour mongers.
Take action against rumour mongers
Secretary to Kerala Government (Water resources) in a written letter asked Director General of Police (DGP) Loknath Behara to make the Cyber Cell to trace the source of such rumours and take action.
“Rumours are being spread in social media like WhatsApp, Facebook etc. that the Mullaperiyar Dam has developed cracks. This rumour is completely baseless and the Dam has not developed any cracks as alleged. These rumours are creating unnecessary panic among people living in the downstream in the Periyar catchment. The Cyber Cell is directed to trace the source of these rumours and take immediate action against the rumour mongers,” read the letter.
#MullaperiyarDam misconception. #KeralaFlood
Point of contention
The Kerala and the Tamil Nadu governments have disagreed with each other over the water levels of Mullaperiyar dam. The dam is managed by the Tamil Nadu government. In a letter to the TN CM, the Kerala CM has alleged that the TN engineers were not cooperative. He alleged that if they had cooperated, then the water levels would have gone down earlier.
Kerala’s concern is that with the water level allowed to go up to 142 feet, there might be damage downstream. Tamil Nadu CM has said that the dam is safe. There was an urgent plea filed in the Supreme Court on Thursday and the SC asked National Crisis Management Committee to meet today and find a way to reduce the water level in the dam so that “disaster of floods in Kerala does not turn into a catastrophe”.