According to a viral post that has been making rounds on social media platforms, as many as 25,000 soldiers have decided to return their Shaurya Chakra medals to show solidarity with farmers’ protest. The news was covered in a Telugu newspaper, Prajasakti.
2,048 Shaurya Chakras has been awarded to date
Ministry of Defence Spokesperson, A. Bharat Bhushan Babu, said in a tweet that the press report was published to damage the reputation of defence forces.
Malicious claim of a press report regarding return of Shaurya Chakra awards aimed at damaging reputation of defence forces— A. Bharat Bhushan Babu (@SpokespersonMoD) December 15, 2020
https://t.co/gsM8ESjyz7@DefenceMinIndia @rajnathsingh @RajnathSingh_in @IAF_MCC @drajaykumar_ias @indiannavy @adgpi @PIB_India @DRDO_India
Ministry of Defence has released a press note in which they said that the report published in a Telugu newspaper named Prajashakti on December 15, 2020, was false. They said, “This is completely false, utterly baseless and malicious in nature and aimed at damaging reputation, honour and pride of our valiant defence forces. In fact, between 1956 to 2019, the actual number of Shaurya Chakras awarded stood at 2,048.” MoD further cautioned the media to verify facts and desist from publishing such blatantly false and malicious news.
Press Information Bureau (PIB)’s fact-check department also debunked the claim. It said, that the information posted in the report by Prajasakti is fake. In order of precedence of peacetime gallantry awards, after Ashoka Chakra and Kirti Chakra comes the Shaurya Chakra, which is followed by Sena Medal. Between 1956 and 2019, 2,048 soldiers have received Shaurya Chakras for their valour, courageous action or self-sacrifice while not engaging in direct action with the enemy. The number is not even 10% of the claim made by the Telugu newspaper in its report.
Claim: Prajasakti newspaper has claimed that 25000 soldiers of the #IndianArmy have returned their Shaurya Chakra medals in solidarity with farmers’ protest.#PIBFactCheck: This news is false. Only 2048 #ShauryaChakra have been awarded from 1956 till 2019. pic.twitter.com/9HcZYrqXqa— PIB Fact Check (@PIBFactCheck) December 15, 2020
What to do before forwarding a message?
It is necessary to check the veracity of a message before forwarding it on social media and spreading the misinformation further. In this case, while 2,048 soldiers have received Shaurya Chakras, the Telugu news agency moved ahead and published fake news without confirming it. Such fake news, even after getting debunked by authorities, often keeps spreading, causing distress among the masses.
In case you have received a dubious message that offers you monetary benefits in exchange for filling a form or says that the government has launched a scheme where you may get a fixed amount, first of all, check if the government has launched any such scheme. Do not click on any link in such emails or messages. Also, make sure not to forward these messages to anyone so that no one gets duped by the scammers.
Farmers’ protest against Agriculture Laws
Thousands of farmers have gathered in and around the national capital to mark their protest against the recently passed Agriculture Laws. The majority of the farmers hail from Punjab and Haryana, who have joined the protests. The farmers’ unions have rejected the government’s proposal to amend the laws and demanded that the government must repeal the laws. Amidst the ongoing protests, opposition parties, Khalistanis, and anti-India forces are trying to take advantage of the situation to spread their propaganda.
There have been reports that Khalistanis and Naxalites have taken over sections of farmers’ protests. Some leaders are spewing anti-India, and anti-Hindu venom in their speeches during the protests. Some groups were seen giving death threats to PM Modi. Slogans praising Bhindranwale have become normal during these protests. Unfortunately, places of worship such as Gurudwara Bangla Sahib are also being used to spread misinformation about the laws. Recently, an editor-in-chief of Punjabi daily has released a video to spread fear among the protesters by alleging that the government is planning to launch an operation against the protesters.