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Police in Flood-Affected Kerala Register 19 Cases of Fake Relief Campaigns

As the flood-stricken state scrambles to provide relief to the victims, fake news and misinformation are affecting the number of donations made by people.

by Shamani Joshi
14 August 2019, 9:05am

Members of a rescue team row a boat towards a submerged temple to look for a man believed to be stranded inside the temple during heavy rains on the outskirts of Kochi in the southern state of Kerala, India. Photo: REUTERS/ Sivaram V

From a father who donated the cancer fund he was saving up for his son’s treatment to a cloth vendor from Kochi who donated his entire stock of new clothes to flood victims, people seem to be selflessly doing their best to help out all those affected by the survival-threatening floods that have once again struck Kerala.

But considering the gravity of the situation and everyone’s eagerness to help out their countrymen, it’s also led to some people taking advantage of the overwhelming emotions and cashing in on the floods under false pretences. Now, police in Kerala have found 19 fake flood relief campaigns on social media and registered cases against all of them with the various cyber wings of the police.

"The cases have been registered for spreading false campaigns on the relief works and all such people would be arrested and proceeded against as per the law," State Police Chief Loknath Behera told News Minute.

This move comes a day after Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan announced that those partaking in such scams are anti-social elements.e also took a stand against people discouraging others to contribute to the state flood relief fund by saying it was propaganda.

“The propaganda that the Chief Minister’s Disaster Relief Fund (CMDRF) has been spent for other purposes is wrong. Circulating wrong messages has affected the rescue operations and discouraged people from taking appropriate decisions. A combined effort is needed to prevent rumours and fake news through social media,” he said.

He assured citizens that the money received would be used for distress relief along with a budget allocation being made for the same. He brought this up after volunteers at various collection points alleged that the misinformation about where relief funds were going affected perceptions and led to fewer people being open to donations.

Kerala faced one of its worst floods in over a century this time last year. But over the last week, torrential rains have led to the deaths of over 70 people, leaving over 2.6 lakh people to seek shelter in around 1,500 relief camps across the state.

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