A horror show transpired at the Bandra Railway station in Mumbai, when thousands of migrants gathered outside the railway station at a time when social distancing is indispensable if India wants to avoid several thousand deaths that the Wuhan virus can cause.
Now, the source of the rumours that reduced the Bandra railway station into a ticking time bomb is being traced down to ABP Majha. The Marathi news channel ran a story stating that train services ferrying passengers would resume from April 14. But this news report clearly turned out to be fake.
ABP Majha report is particularly misleading and baseless given that it claimed resumption of rail services from April 14 which is rather improbable. Prime Minister Modi had announced the 21-day lockdown, which was to originally end at April 14 midnight before it was extended further.
How could the Indian Railways have decided to recommence services from April 14 when a nationwide lockdown was supposed to be in force till April 14 midnight?
But ABP Majha is not the only media outlet running such outrageously misleading and fake reports, even other media outlets had claimed that the railways would resume rail services from April 15- a day after the 21-day nationwide lockdown came to an end.
Live Hindustan too has been publishing grossly misleading reports about resumption of rail services. It published a story dated April 10 that claimed that trains were ready to start running again from April 15, if a go-ahead comes from the top political leadership.
In a report authored by one Arvind Singh, Hindustan had even claimed that the railways had prepared to start operating again from April 15. It even claimed that a senior officer of the Railway Board had said that more than 80 per cent of the trains were directed to recommence operations from April 15.
The report even claims that the rail administration had forwarded the train running schedule to all employees, including drivers, guards, managers and ticket checkers.
It didn’t stop here, and further claimed that all the 17 zones were instructed to remain prepared for restarting operations for all kinds of trains, that is, the long-distance passenger trains as well as the local trains immediately after the 21-day lockdown.
Did the Railways announce any plan to resume rail services from April 15 as claimed by Arvind Singh in his report? No, this was again fake news that cited “sources” within the railways to claim that the Indian Railways would start functioning again from April 15, which could have fuelled even more chaos at several other stations apart from the Bandra railway station in Mumbai.
It is utterly ridiculous that such irresponsible stories were published that can land huge crowds of migrant labourers at railway stations across the country.
A single patient can cause set in long chains of the Chinese virus, breaking which could prove an uphill task. It doesn’t take much time and effort to write stories about resumption of rail services relying upon anonymous “sources”, but such reports can lead to dire consequences.
The Indian Railways has now tweeted, “It is clarified that all Passenger train services are fully cancelled, across the nation, till 3rd May 2020 and there is no plan to run any special train to clear the passenger rush. All concerned may pl.take note of the same and help us in resisting any wrong news in this regard.”
It is clarified that all Passenger train services are fully cancelled, across the nation, till 3rd May 2020 and there is no plan to run any special train to clear the passenger rush
All concerned may pl.take note of the same and help us in resisting any wrong news in this regard
— Ministry of Railways (@RailMinIndia) April 14, 2020
What ABP Majha did was to create panic at Bandra within Mumbai, but Arvind Singh’s report for Hindustan had the potential to cause panic and huddle crowds across the country. Remember, the disgusting fake news claimed that all “17 rail zones” would start running again from April 15.
Had there been crowds huddling in at railways stations across the country, wouldn’t Arvind Singh have been responsible, for it was his low-class journalism that could have spread obnoxious misinformation.
The ABP Majha reporter was detained by the Maharashtra Police for spreading fake news and causing panic, and Hindustan e paper too has done something quite similar.
Arvind Singh might even face action for spreading panic. It is a matter of chance that his report didn’t cause chaos in the country, however it had all the material that could have resulted in crowding of rail premises.
Hindustan e paper and reporters like Arvind Singh must desist from low-class, sensational journalism that has no real substance. Hindustan e paper deserves to meet the same fate as ABP Majha and such casual reporters must be booked if they continue to spread panic and rumours in the near future.