A group of 183 eminent personalities comprising of retired Judges, veteran Army officers, retired civil servants, and eminent professionals from various fields have written to Chief Ministers of all States and demanded action those trying to peddle fake news and target minorities in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic. This, after a flurry of Islamophobic posts on social media and communal coverage of COVID-19, caused a stir after the Tablighi Jamaat Markaz incident.
Among the signatories of the letter are BJP Rajya Sabha MP KJ Alphons, former Bombay High Court Chief Justice Kshitij R Vyas, and former Maharashtra DGP Praveen Dixit.
"Our Group is quite disturbed at the manner in which the mouth-pieces of certain vested interests are consistently trying to create a perception that there is wide spread harassment caused to a particular community in the States. As members of the civil society, we firmly believe that the State Governments are absolutely right in their decisions to take stern action against anyone attacking the doctors, paramedics, sanitation workers or any other public servant engaged in fighting Covid-19 pandemic at the ground zero."
The ‘Group’ red-flagged the larger design to harm India's strong social fiber, and to defame the country by raking up fake anti-India news, including from Twitter handles operated by Pakistan and its ISI from many countries for under-cover operations against India. The ‘Group’ urged the State Governments to identify and expose such fake news and their authors, and take stringent action against them as per law, including the ones who use them as launching pads for pursuing their sinister agendas.
The letter also called out "dubious forces" indulging in "whisper campaigns and planting misleading rumours" on the dire situation faced by lakhs of destitute migrant workers who have been hit hard by the pandemic and the subsequent lockdown.
"It has also come to notice that certain dubious forces are indulging in whisper campaigns and planting misleading rumours to exploit the uncertainties faced by the migrant labourers in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. The State governments, through their intelligence agencies, need to keep a vigilant track of such subversive activities."