India is using all its resources to fight the deadly coronavirus. Hotels are being turned into hospitals. Trains are being converted into isolation wards. Leaders are becoming messengers. Police have taken the additional responsibility of keeping people inside their homes during the lockdown period. Opposition leaders are standing with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party to make sure that people follow the lockdown. All in all, India stands united. Except one group — the BJP’s IT cell.
In the midst of the Narendra Modi government’s war-like preparations to fight the coronavirus pandemic, the BJP’s IT cell continues to engage in spreading hate and misinformation. It seems that the IT cell has vowed to become an enemy of its own party and the country. Its troll armies have taken to the Covid-19 pandemic as if a Lok Sabha election was going on and they have to make sure the BJP wins, by hook or by crook.
In 2018, then BJP president and now Union home minister Amit Shah had said that his party workers are capable of delivering any message to the public. The BJP’s WhatsApp group has over 32 lakh subscribers. He recounted how an IT cell worker had once pushed a fake news about Akhilesh Yadav slapping his father Mulayam Singh, which went viral.
In his radio programme Mann Ki Baat, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has recounted several incidents over the years, marvelling every time how they would go viral on social Media. Both Modi and Amit Shah are very familiar with the idea, and the importance, of something going viral. So why is their IT cell not using its abilities to share with the masses correct and useful information on the ongoing health crisis is the question that needs to be asked.