While it is true that the coronavirus pandemic has hit the Indian economy and middle and lower middle class is the worst affected, a section of people are spreading their own propaganda on the tragedy. Recently, some videos were shared on social media where claims were made that the boatsmen in Varanasi are facing financial crunch and that as many as 350 families are forced to sleep hungry.
Film actor Sonu Sood reacted to the post on Tuesday and promised aide.
वाराणसी घाटों के यह 350 परिवारों का कोई भी सदस्य आज के बाद भूखा नहीं सोएगा।आज मदद पहुँच जाएगी 🙏🇮🇳 https://t.co/yKzaw6vdcx— sonu sood (@SonuSood) September 1, 2020
Some media house had reported that the boatsmen were forced to sell off their jewellery and had appealed to Bollywood actor Sonu Sood who promised help.
However, the truth is far from what is propagated. Speaking to OpIndia, members of Nishad community clarified how they have never had to beg for food and the media reports of 350 families being hungry are all rumours. Local councillor Narsingh Das was engaged in distributing ration even when OpIndia contacted him.
“There is no denying that coronavirus has impacted us all in India. But no one can die of hunger in Varanasi. Every year the water levels in Ganga rise and the boats are either taken off the river or are run for limited time. But this does not lead to hunger for the families as reported. The community comes together to help out people in such trying times,” he said.
He said that in past six years, after PM Modi fought and won elections from Varanasi constituency, the tourism has increased and people have started earning better.
Many such people OpIndia spoke to refuted the allegations that the 350 families in Varanasi are sleeping hungry.
Adinath Sahni, a boatsman, while speaking to OpIndia also refuted these rumours that the community is facing crunch.
A video was also shared by BJP leader Naveen Kapoor where another boatman had the claim that 350 boatmen in Varanasi are unable to survive the coronavirus lockdown due to lack of financial help. Bhagat Nishad said that the claims of boatmen’s families not having food to eat are fake. He said that in the city blessed by Baba Vishwanath and Mata Annapurna, it is not possible that anyone may have to sleep hungry.
मां अन्नपूर्णा एवं बाबा विश्वनाथ के इस नगरी में कोई भूखा नहीं सो सकता है अतः काशी में निषादों के भूखा सोने की गलत अफवाह फैलाई गई है जो पूर्णतया गलत है काशी का निषाद समाज माननीय प्रधानमंत्री जी के नेतृत्व में हजारों लोगों को भोजन कराने में सक्षम हैं @SonuSood @iShashiShekhar pic.twitter.com/g5iPBZPmL3— Naveen Kapoor (@naveenkapoorbjp) September 1, 2020
While thanking Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the help they got from the government, he said, “We received timely help during the lockdown. We appreciate what PM Modi has done for his constituency Varanasi and the country during the coronavirus pandemic.”
Further, various NGOs had also come forward to help the distressed families. Piyush, Founder of Samarpanam Foundation, replied to Sonu Sood and said they are already taking care of the boatmen in Varanasi. He added that they had supplied essential groceries to the families of boatmen, and Sonu Sood should verify the case and try to provide help using proper channels.