Unless you are living under a rock, by now you must have seen at least one image on social media that claims that fake fingers are being used to cheat the Election Commission and subvert the process of voting. Most of the forwards do not say where this is going on though.
One of the people who started this rumour is an abusive troll named Abhishek Mishra, who is reportedly close to Arvind Kejriwal (even followed by him on Twitter). He later deleted this tweet but still defended the possibility of such a device being used:
In the past, the troll has shared such fake news where a dead robber was shown to be an innocent citizen – a lie that spread further by Kejriwal. This time, apart from Mishra troll, similar images were being circulated by many on the social media. Many of them might have believed this to be true.
Things got really serious earlier today when even Former Chief Election Commissioner Dr S Y Quraishi shared similar unverified WhatsApp forwards:
Someone sent this! pic.twitter.com/bnwRZLSLiL
— Dr. S.Y. Quraishi (@DrSYQuraishi) February 20, 2017
A simple reverse image search on Google reveals the truth. The picture which is common in both Mishra’s tweet and Dr Quraishi’s tweet is in fact sourced from here: “PROSTHETIC FINGERS HELP REFORM FORMER YAKUZA MEMBERS”
In Japan, a stunted small finger signifies membership in the yakuza, or Japanese mafia. In a ritual known as “yubitsume,” yakuza members are required to chop off their own digits to atone for serious offences. The left small finger is usually the first to go, though repeated offences call for further severing. As a result, those who get out, have a hard time finding work because of the stigma attached to those missing fingers.
This was pointed out by some social media users as well (who are incidentally facing hacking attempts on their accounts):
— Maithun – HMP (@Being_Humor) February 21, 2017
So a picture of fake fingers used in Japan by Japanese mafia, was circulated to show as if an election fraud was underway in India. As of now, there is no reported case of any such device being used in electoral fraud in India. Further, anybody familiar with the process of voting would know that just using a fake finger, will not enable a person to vote again. He needs to have a different identity proof, and the face must match on both the identity proofs and even on the electoral rolls. The possibility of having all these tools and successfully pulling off this stunt is remote.
But Mishra’s pointed claim that BJP has been using this tactic is patently false, which is probably why the abusive troll deleted his tweet. And since there is no evidence of any party using such tactics, such fake news should not be shared, especially by people who are trusted and respected by the masses.