Social media websites were recently awash with videos of people complaining that they are forced to buy Tiranga for Rs 20 at government-operated ration centres, failing which they were denied the ration.
The video shows alleged employees at the ration centres claiming that they had received orders from above to sell Tiranga to consumers who come to their shops to buy rations. The video is being bandied around on the internet with the claim that the Centre had instructed ration centres to deny rations to people not buying the national flag.
The video, seemingly from the Karnal district of Haryana, instantly went viral on the internet, with politicians and social media personalities with sizeable following sharing the video, lending credence to the attendant claim that government-run ration centres were mandating consumers to buy Tiranga from them.
‘Fact-checker’, Rahul Gandhi, opposition parties spread the viral video that claims GoI ordered the denial of ration to people not buying Tiranga
Never one to exercise discretion in sharing news that shows the Centre in a bad light, Mohammed Zubair, who preens on being a ‘fact-checker’, shared the viral video without carrying out a basic fact-check if the government had indeed ordered PDS centres to force consumers to buy Tiranga from them.
Senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, who is constantly on the prowl to attack the Centre, most notably on their ‘Har Ghar Tiranga’ campaign, took to Facebook to share the viral video and target the government.
“Tricolor is our pride, it resides in every heart. Nationalism can never be sold, it is very shameful that instead of giving rations, 20 rupees are being collected from the poor in the name of tricolour. Along with the tricolour, the BJP government is also attacking the self-esteem of the poor of our country,” Gandhi wrote along with sharing the video.
The official Twitter handle of All India Trinamool Congress also shared a Dainik Bhaskar report and alleged poor people were being looted and forced to pay Rs 20 for buying the flag, without which they will not get ration.
Varun Gandhi also shared the viral video noting that it would be unfortunate if the celebration of the 75th anniversary of independence becomes a burden on the poor.
Many others too shared the viral video claiming that the government of India had ordered the denial of rations to people not buying the national flag.
The truth about the claim that the government is forcing people to buy the national flag at ration centres
However, the claim that the Indian government is compelling the poor to buy the national flag at ration centres is false. The central government has issued no such instruction, it said on social media websites. The official Twitter handle of the Press Information Bureau called out the fake claims attributed to the government and said that no such instruction mandating the buying of the Tricolour has been issued to the PDS centres.
The government has also cancelled the license of the errant ration shop for violating the government orders and misrepresenting facts.
Some social media posts claim that Govt of India has instructed denial of ration to people not buying national flag— PIB Fact Check (@PIBFactCheck) August 10, 2022
▶️The claim is not true
▶️No such instruction has been given by GoI
▶️Errant ration shop has been suspended for violating orders of Govt & misrepresenting facts pic.twitter.com/MA34l34g1n
The Haryana government on Wednesday suspended the licence of the ration depot after he was found forcing people to buy the national flag and telling them they won’t be given the provisions otherwise.
“A ration depot holder at Hemda village was selling the flags stating if they don’t buy the ration at the rate of Rs 20, they won’t be given the supplies. As soon as the matter came to the knowledge of the district administration, his licence was suspended with immediate effect,” Karnal deputy commissioner Anish Yadav was quoted as saying in a report published by the Indian Express.
Speaking to the media persons, the depot holder said, “I have made it clear that the flag will cost Rs 20 as there are orders from the government. We have to deposit the money (charged in lieu of the flags). We won’t provide rations to those who will not buy a flag at the rate of Rs 20. We have been instructed by the inspector that the purchase of the flag is mandatory for those who are taking ration. We have to follow the orders of the government.”
However, authorities clarified that there was no mandate on people taking rations to buy Tiranga from the depot. They said the Tricolour at the public distribution system (PDS) centres are for the convenience of the public and they will be returned to the government after August 15.