Mischievous fools behind fake news: Call of ‘win collectively’

Let’s fight and win collectively against COVID-19. This was Chief Minister N Biren Singh in a video message to the people, even as the Nationwide lockdown was on its 16th day on April 8. The resolve of the Chief Minister to take the fight to the end and employ whatever means there are to defeat the virus is there for all to see and just how seriously he is about the lockdown can be surmised by the fact that he is among the Chief Ministers in the country to call for an extension of the lockdown, which will be in force till April 14. With Prime Minister Narendra Modi more than hinting that the lockdown may be extended in the face of the growing number of positive cases and casualty across the country, people may brace themselves up for yet more days of the ongoing lockdown. This is fine for here is a case of tackling a global pandemic for which there as yet no antidote. The question however at this point is how seriously have the people taken the call of the Prime Minister and Chief Minister N Biren ? So even as the police continue to detain a number of people and impose fines on them for violating the lockdown call, some continue to bombard the senses of the people with fake news, accompanied with cleverly photoshopped pictures and video shots. All these fake news and information are related to the ongoing lockdown and the concern of the people over the COVID-19 pandemic. And obviously such fake news and information make it to the social media sites and one is left wondering whether there are elements out there who are hell bent on inviting yet another ban on the internet.
The latest that did the round was the fake news of a truck being detained with a number of non-locals who were ostensibly being smuggled in from outside the State. This piece of fake news rang out the alarm bell, for here is a case of a goods truck plying on the highway and bringing in non-locals despite the fact that the Inner Line Permit has been suspended for some time to stop migrant workers from crossing into the State in a bid to keep the virus at bay. Moreover the State Government has imposed a ban on inter-State movement of people. The fake news hit the social media complete with a video shot of a truck being stopped and the migrant workers ‘uncovered’. Just a few hours before the said fake video was uploaded on the social media, the newspaper houses did receive information late in the evening of April 9 that a truck was intercepted with at least four non-locals who were brought in on the sly from across the border. This news was published in The Sangai Express after it was verified from the police that a truck had indeed been detained with some non-locals. However today it has come to light, courtesy the All Manipur Road Transport Drivers and Motor Workers Union, that the said non-locals were not brought in from outside yesterday itself but are living at a locality in Imphal. These examples should go a long way in underlining the point that fake news and information can do much harm and there is no reason why the Government should not crack down on the element/s who uploaded the fake video shot of a truck being detained with a number of non-locals. Such antics goes against the spirit of collectively fighting against the virus.