Now even the Uttar Pradesh Police wants people to check the fact-checking website Altnews before blindly forwarding and accepting viral video clips spreading communal hatred and rumours (see video links below).
But the normally hyper-active police and their cyber cells have been strangely reluctant to take action against people posting and forwarding such fake videos.
In a series of tweets in the early hours of Thursday, Pratik Sinha had this to say:
- Ever since it has been revealed that the congregation at Nizamuddin Markaz has led to a spurt of COVID +ve cases, the right-wing has used this opportunity to inject innumerable number of videos with the false claim that these are Muslims trying to spread coronavirus.
- Some of the videos are recent (but before the mass breakout of coronavirus in India), while most are fairly old (pre-2019), and some are not even from India. These videos have been used as part of a systematic campaign to delegitimize the Muslim community.
- Misinformation deepen one's biases and has real life consequences for people. We are already seeing reports of attacks and discrimination against Muslims from different parts of India. The attacks are very often concentrated on members of the lower economic strata.
- It is imperative that all of us who believe in the plural values of the Indian society fight this communal virus at our own levels. It is not always easy to convince people with hardened beliefs, but one has to keep trying.
- I would request everyone that every time you see such false, communal misinformation, especially on timelines and accounts of people who you know in real life, please let them know very politely that they may have fallen for misinformation, and share fact-checks with them.