Amidst rising cases of COVID-19 in Mumbai prompting the state to invoke section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure Cr. PC; the city has effectively been put in lockdown. A harrowing piece of misinformation claiming that 40 COVID-19 patients are being housed inside the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay (IIT-B) has been spreading like wildfire.
This unverified rumour had been creating panic in an already stressful situation.To ease the residents of paranoia, Journalists affiliated with the Powai Journalists Association (PJA) collectively worked to verify the validity of this piece of information.
The rumour stemmed from a housekeeping staff working inside IIT-B who claimed that 40 Coronavirus-positive patients are being housed inside the newly formed quarantine centre inside the campus.
The rumour came just days after the collector’s sudden decision to convert IIT-B into a quarantine facility for C-category flyers (those coming in from international destinations) earlier this week. The decision was however overturned following stiff resistance from students and members of the Non-Academic Staff Association (NASA).
A Watchdog News correspondent and member of the (PJA) spoke to the IIT-B Public Relations Officer (PRO) seeking clarity into the matter. The IIT-B spokesperson said, “This is absolutely untrue, We don not have 40 COVID-19 positive patients housed inside the campus, this is nothing more than classic misinformation doing the rounds.
On behalf of the administration I would like to assure the residents, students and the community at large that this is indeed a false narrative and does not hold even an iota of truth!”
Journalists from the PJA are currently working in tandem with local law enforcement to bring the ‘miscreant’ to account. Senior Police Inspector (Sr.PI) Sudhakar Kmable from the Powai Police Station has assured this publication that “All necessary actions are being taken to bring this rumour mongering miscreant to account and penalise him under the relevant sections of the law.”
The Journalists collective has requested residents of Powai to not rely on WhatsApp forwards and other unverified messages as an authentic source of news, with a spokesperson of the association who stated,
“All reporters from the area are working tirelessly to provide the community with authentic news based on verified sources, we appeal to residents to refrain from indulging in, believing and forwarding such unverified pieces of information. Fake news is the biggest enemy in a time of crisis such as now.”
To read this news in Marathi, head over to: