As we enter the 5th day of the government’s ambitious demonetisation drive, the dust looks far from settled. People are flocking to banks and ATMs to get that wad of acceptable cash. While largely people are calm and accepting the inconvenience as a part of their sacrifice for the greater good of the nation, there are some who want the scheme to fail at all cost.
Baseless rumours are being spread to create panic among the citizens. The culprits can be anyone; political parties with vested interests, power brokers in the media, your neighbours who sold their ancestral property for 60:40 cash, or maybe a stupid friend who believes everything he receives as WhatsApp forward.
In such a scenario, it’s important to separate the wheat from the chaff and also to identify poisonous weeds in your backyard. So we list down 10 things that you or someone you know might have believed as true, but which are rumours or plain lies:
1. Transporters are going on strike, so you must stock up essential goods in your household
You might have received the following information on WhatsApp or seen it on Facebook or Twitter. It says that the transporters have decided to go on a strike starting tomorrow, due to which things like groceries or FMCG goods won’t be able to reach markets.
Truth is that no such strike has been announced. The same has been debunked by the Ministry of Road transport and highways.
No call for strike by AIMTC. Please do not believe in rumours.
— MORTHINDIA (@MORTHIndia) November 12, 2016
2. Fake currency of new denomination already in the market
A story going around says that a vegetable seller claimed he was duped with a fake Rs 2000 note. This spread panic that the new currency was not secured enough. It turned out that he was fooled by a coloured xerox of the note. The headline of the new report was misleading that led to the rumour of a counterfeit currency being involved.
Take a look at the supposed counterfeit note yourself below. While one feels bad for the poor vegetable seller, isn’t it too easy to spot that the one on the top is a coloured xerox copy? Just look at the edges. You don’t even need to look for further security features such as watermark.
3. New 2000 rupees note has a nano chip
While on one had you have rumours about the currency already being faked, there is a flip side to this rumour that claims that the note is super secure, loaded with a nano chip that can be tracked. Zee News even aired a report about it. No, there is no chip.
4. Shopping mall in Delhi looted as people didn’t have cash to buy goods
There are some reports about shops being looted in some parts of the countries because people didn’t have ready cash to buy things. A viral video clip shows people in Delhi looting a mall. People are sharing the clip claiming the looting happened due to demonetisation troubles.
But that is far from the truth. The mall in question was a self-catering mall where card holding members take along the stocks they need. Yes, there was disorder due to some miscreants, but it was not looting. Delhi police too clarified it on Twitter.
News Update pic.twitter.com/YYTYs4Zfwl
— Delhi Police (@DelhiPolice) November 12, 2016
5. Salt is selling at high prices all across the country
This one is perhaps the most rampant rumour, even NDTV reported about the rumour in such a way that it helped spread the rumour. In short, some wise men decided to spread the word that there’s a huge crisis of salt in the country which led to further rumours about its price per Kg increasing to Rs 400. It led to some panic buying, but salt was not being sold at any exorbitant rates in the country.
Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry, Nirmala Sitharaman herself had to step in to curb the rumours.
1. No shortage in the supply of edible salt.Baseless rumors being spread. Salt Commissioner& Jt.Secretary Shri Raghavendra monitoring ….
— Nirmala Sitharaman (@nsitharaman) November 11, 2016
6. 200% penalty will be imposed on cash that will be deposited in banks
Various numbers are doing the round claiming people will have to pay high tax on bank deposits above 2.5 lakh rupees. From 95% tax on the deposited amount to whopping 200% on the deposit amounts. This OpIndia report debunks the rumour and is also a great insight about how the taxes will be levied.
7. BJP leaders and their relatives already had 2000 rupee notes
This rumour has been spread by activists of the Aam Aadmi Party and the Congress party. This OpIndia report exposes the lies spread by Congress IT cell where picture of a bank employee was circulated as picture of a BJP leader’s daughter, while this report debunks another such claim made by AAP supremo Arvind Kejriwal.
8. Violence outside banks and ATMs due to long queues of people withdrawing cash
News agency PTI put out a tweet claiming the Delhi police got a staggering 4.5 thousand calls about violence outside banks and ATMs. It should be noted that reports or information by PTI is carried as it is by news organisations and any error, rumour, or lie will be repeated thousand times.
And this claim by the PTI turned out to be hugely exaggerated and misleading. Delhi police indeed received many calls but not related to violence outside banks or ATMs.
“4.5k calls as people took to violence” @PTI_News
“Many calls but none reported violence” @DelhiPolice
Is media adding to rumours? pic.twitter.com/vmBvGUswPS
— Manak Gupta (@manakgupta) November 13, 2016
Not only violence, people spread rumour about stampedes too, which again were false.
— Madhur Verma (@DCP_North_Delhi) November 12, 2016
9. Many deaths due to inconvenience and unavailability of ready cash
While there indeed has been an unfortunate death, it has now come to light that some other deaths are being deliberately linked to demonetisation by some in the media. For example, relatives of a person who unfortunately died, have themselves clarified that the death had got nothing to do with demonetisation.
Similarly, another such unfortunate death reported by media and linked to demonetisation is turning out to be a case of accident or suicide due to personal issues (update).
Husband says he doesn’t know reason behind alleged suicide. Family insists no suicide. No one links it to closed ATM. Yet see the headline. pic.twitter.com/gGfsya9SbL
— Ketan C Bhate (@BhateKetan) November 13, 2016
10. Pictures of humongous queues at banks or crowds protesting against demonetisation
While there is no denying the fact that there are queues outside banks and ATMs, many miscreants are spreading photos from different times and places claiming they were pictures of queues and chaos while withdrawing money. People belonging to political parties are even using old pictures of some other protests to claim that citizens are protesting against the demonetisation drive.
Some of these have been exposed by people on Twitter, but you may still receive those on WhatsApp or Facebook:
— Spamnath Bharti (@attomeybharti) November 13, 2016
— Nupur (@UnSubtleDesi) November 13, 2016
So be alert and aware, and don’t believe such rumours. Also, spread this article in your social circle so that these rumours can be stopped from spreading and creating panic among the citizens.