Sumanti Sen is an English Literature graduate who believes "there's just one kind of folks. Folks.".
The fake news menace is exponentially increasing, as a single click has the ability to spread them like virus. Kerala has recently been enveloped in tension and violence following the Supreme Court’s verdict on allowing women to enter Sabarimala Temple. Amidst all this, a tweet from @PartyVillage017 claimed that following two women entering Sabarimala, an Ayyappa Devotee committed suicide.
Another Ayyappa devotee commits suicide.
Jayarajan of Valancheri committed suicide after the desecration of the #Sabarimala temple by Maoist women activists. He is the fourth devotee to die brokenhearted in 2 months. #SabarimalaTemple is such an emotive issue here. pic.twitter.com/0tLhx7xZCv
— We never quit. (@PartyVillage017) January 3, 2019
With 1,000 likes, 1,300 retweets and 135 comments, the information, tweeted on January 2, soon began spreading.
Among several other social media users, ShankhNaad, a right-wing Twitter handle, also tweeted the same, writing: “Broken over desecration of #Sabarimala, Ayyappa devotee Jayaraj Swamy has taken his own life. Many more, I hear. This blood is in the hands of those who violated our faith. And those, who watched in silence. This will not go unanswered”.
However, as it turned out, Jayarajan from Kerala’s Valanchery really did commit suicide, but it had nothing to do with the Sabarimala conflict.
According to officials, Jayarajan’s suicide and the two women entering Sabarimala had no connection, reported Alt News.
“The suicide is not at all linked to the Sabarimala issue but of course he was a Sabarimala devotee. He was a retired postmaster. Neither was he mentally ill nor did he have a financial problem,” said Gopi, brother-in-law of the deceased.
As confirmed by Gopi, the two women entered Sabarimala on January 2, while Jayarajan committed suicide on January 1.
Further, police inspector P Pramod clarified that the deceased’s family is denying the fact. His daughter had reached out to the police saying that the news social media is spreading is wrong, and that her father’s death had nothing to do with the Sabarimala row. Gopi reported the suicide, and police are now waiting for the post-mortem report.
Thus, in conclusion, Jayarajan’s suicide had no link with the two women entering Sabarimala, as the Sabarimala incident took place a day after the suicide happened.
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.
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