A video where a few policemen are seen picking up notes with sticks from a roadside and placing them inside a bag is doing the rounds on social media. It is being claimed that a member of the Muslim community had thrown Rs 100, Rs 200 and Rs 500 notes to spread coronavirus.
Is this New Modas operandi !!
Currency notes lying unclaimed on road triggered panic in Hira Nagar area of Indore – a city which has emerged as one the prime #Covid19India hotspots in the country.#StayAlert #StayHomeStaySafe#घरमेंरहेंस्वस्थरहें
— जय श्री राम Bultyy Jaglan 🇮🇳🇮🇳 (@bultyy_jaglan) April 16, 2020
Twitter handle @SortedEagle posted this video with the message, “They’ve found a new way to spread the virus now. A resident of this area in Indore saw a Muslim chap scatter currency notes of 100, 200 & 500 in the locality for people to pick up & get infected. Police was called & they collected them with protection. 10 grand scattered around.” It has been retweeted more than 1,200 times so far.
This video has also been shared on Facebook with a similar narrative. It is also getting shared with a message in Tamil. The message claims that Muslims in West Bengal are throwing notes on road to spread the virus.
ரோட்டில் #ரூபாய் நோட்டுகள் கிடந்தால் யாரும் அதை எடுக்க வேண்டாம் தற்போது கோரோணா வைரஸை பரப்ப…
The video has been shared with a message in Hindi as well. However, the Hindi text doesn’t give any communal angle to the incident. Alt News has received several requests on its Android application to fact-check this video.
With a Google search, Alt News found a report published by Dainik Jagran on April 17, 2020. According to the report, the incident took place at Indore’s Khatipura-Gori Nagar road on Thursday. People informed the police after seeing some notes scattered on the road after which they sanitised the notes and ceased them. Furthermore, the police went through the footage of near-by CCTV camera but they couldn’t find a suspected vehicle or a person. The report nowhere identified the person suspected of having thrown the notes as a Muslim.
We then reached out to Hira Nagar police station regarding this matter. In conversation with Alt News, station in-charge Rajiv Bhaduria said, “It is clear that any person or a Muslim didn’t deliberate scatter the notes. Actually, the notes fell from the pocket of an Indane gas delivery guy. The person’s name is Narendra Yadav and he is a resident of Indore’s Gauri Nagar. Yadav had come to us to know about the notes. After listening to his story, we checked the CCTV footage and it became clear that these were his notes.”
Thus, it is certain that these notes in Khatipura area of Indore were not deliberately thrown on the roadside by a member of the Muslim community to spread the coronavirus. A similar incident took place in Delhi with a man who had borrowed money from an ATM. A video of that incident was also shared with an anti-Muslim angle on social media.
Note: The number of positive cases of the novel coronavirus in India exceeds 17,000 and over to 500 deaths have so far been reported. The government has imposed a complete restriction on movement apart from essential services to tackle the pandemic. Globally, more than 24 lakh confirmed cases and close to 1.6 lakh deaths have been reported. There is a sense of panic among citizens, causing them to fall for a variety of online misinformation – misleading images and videos rousing fear or medical misinformation promoting pseudoscience and invalid treatments. While your intentions may be pure, misinformation, spread especially during a pandemic, can take lives. We request our readers to practice caution and not forward unverified messages on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.