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WebQoof Recap: From COVID-19 Infodemic to BJP MP on Delhi Violence

Here’s a quick round-up of all the WhatsApp forwards and fake tweets that misled the public this week.

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WebQoof
4 min read
From misinformation around the novel coronavirus to fake news related to violence that broke out in Northeast Delhi between 24-25 February, here’s a quick round-up of all the WhatsApp forwards and fake tweets that misled the public this week.
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From misinformation around the novel coronavirus to fake news related to violence that broke out in Northeast Delhi between 24-25 February, here’s a quick round-up of all the WhatsApp forwards and fake tweets that misled the public this week.

1. Audio on Coronavirus Falsely Linked to Cardiologist Devi Shetty

The fake news factory has been working overtime to churnout conspiracy theories and misinformation around the novel coronavirus. Now, an audio clip is being massively shared on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and WhatsApp, claiming that it is the audio of Dr Devi Shetty, Founder and Chairman of Narayana Health.

The claim along with the message reads, “Audio by Dr Devi Shetty cardiologist chief, Narayana. He has clearly said about day top day symptoms and testing, listen carefully. Directly from the horse’s mouth.(sic)”

However, Speaking to The Quint Dr Devi Shetty clarified that he never released any such audio adding that all kind of fake messages are being linked to him.

While this was an audio clip, another message which spread like wild fire was a message in the name of Dr Naresh Trehan. The message alerted people about a possible lockdown and advised people to stock up.

WebQoof Recap: From COVID-19 Infodemic to BJP MP on Delhi Violence
(Source: WhatsApp)

But this ‘advisory’ was also found to be fake!

2. OpIndia Runs Fake News On Muslims Refusing to Be Tested in K’taka

At a time when the cases of COVID-19 are increasing in the country, a bulletin by Kannada news channel Public TV (which has now been taken down) said that four people, who returned from Dubai, refused to get tested for coronavirus in Karnataka’s Bhatkal because they claimed that in their religion there is no scope to get tested for the novel virus.

Right-wing website Opindia, too, published a story, based on inputs from the Public TV bulletin.

Speaking to The Quint, KC Gautam, DSP Bhatkal, said that nobody has refused to get themselves tested in Bhatkal, and definitely not on the basis of any religion.

“People come from Dubai to Mangalore first since Mangalore has an airport and then to Bhatkal. Nobody has refused to get themselves tested. We are regularly checking people who are coming from abroad if they show symptoms of coronavirus. There is no communal angle to this,” Gautam said.

DSP Bhatkal is not the only one denying the claims being made by Opindia. A local businessman, Syed Anees, who recently returned from Dubai said that everybody is undergoing the test for the novel virus.

Read the full story here.

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3. BJP MP Lekhi Misleads LS Saying Only Hindus Targeted in Shiv Vihar

On Wednesday, 11 March, the Parliament of India discussed the communal violence which shook several parts of northeast Delhi in February.

While politicians across party lines raised concerns about the law and order situation in the national capital, BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi in her speech claimed that in Karawal Nagar’s Shiv Vihar area, only the houses belonging to the majority community were burnt down and vandalised while those belonging to the minority community remained untouched.

The Quint visited the ground and found out that the claims made by Lekhi were false.

In the same speech, Lekhi also claimed that no riots have happened in Gujarat post 2002, but we found this claim to be false too.

According to the NCRB data from the year 2014, 57 cases of communal violence/riots were reported from the state of Gujarat while the total number of cases of riots in the state were 1,354. NCRB recorded the number of victims for these 57 cases to be at 107.

For the year 2015, the number of cases of riots that were recorded were 1,751 while those of communal violence/riots stood at 45. While for the year 2016, the number of communal riots/violence in the state stood at 62 with 105 victims.

Similarly for 2017 and 2018, the total number of cases of riots in the state stood at 1,740 and 1,898 respectively. And the cases of communal violence/riots were 44 and 39 respectively.

WebQoof Recap: From COVID-19 Infodemic to BJP MP on Delhi Violence

You can read the full story here.

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4.Fake Advisories Attributed to WHO, UNICEF and Central Government Create Havoc

A viral ‘Office Memorandum’ being circulated claims that the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare has issued a clarification regarding declaration of holidays in four states, namely Maharashtra, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, and Sikkim.

This holiday has been ‘declared’ from 14 to 21 March and says that in case of any violation, a fine of Rs 5,000 will be imposed.

WebQoof Recap: From COVID-19 Infodemic to BJP MP on Delhi Violence

This advisory was fake. The government didn’t issue any such press release.

But this is just one advisory, there have been multiple messages attributed to WHO, UNICEF which have been doing the rounds in wake of coronavirus. Be very careful while forwarding these because they might be fake! Read all our fact-checked stories here.

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5. Ankit Sharma Stabbed 12 Times, Not 400 – Post-Mortem Debunks Claim

More than two weeks after the body of 26-year-old Ankit Sharma, an Intelligence Bureau personnel, was found during the Northeast Delhi violence, a postmortem report dismisses claims that Sharma was “stabbed over 400 times”.

His body was found in a drain in northeast Delhi’s Chand Bagh area on 26 February.

The claim, initially reported by right-wing websites, was further amplified by ministers in Parliament, social media influencers, and even found a mention in an official letter from the Prasar Bharati CEO to the BBC.

While Ankit Sharma sustained severe fatal injuries in the attack during the communal violence that gripped the national capital from 24 to 26 February, the severity was seemingly exaggerated for shock value.

According to the post-mortem report, accessed by The Quint, Sharma was stabbed 12 times and sustained 51 injuries in total.

Read the full story here.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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