Rumour Mill Day 1 of 3 – D-Day: 20th Has Arrived

This is part one of a three part series I intend to write after noticing this hyped up news about people from North East rumoured to be attacked in cities like Chennai and Bangalore on the 20th of August.

In this series, I intend to bring out my opinion about the cause, the effect and the lessons learned from this incident.

Part two will come out tomorrow, after seeing what happens today and part three will come out the day after tomorrow with the lessons we can learn from this.

Part one is here..

The background

Cities like Chennai and Bangalore have a lot of migrants from North Eastern states like Assam, as those states are under-developed. The people from these places are very talented and hard working, and at the same time work for lower wages than the local workers. So over 50,000 of them have been employed in Chennai and almost the same number in Bangalore. This can be compared to the Mexicans living in the US or the people from Western European nations working in places like London and Paris.

The Rumour Begins

About ten days ago, an image of some monks sitting among lots of dead bodies started showing up on Facebook. This photo actually shows Tibetan monks assisting in the relief operations and was taken on 14th April 2010, in Kyegudo (Yushul) in Eastern Tibet, right after a major earthquake had hit this area. This photo has been morphed by some one (the Indian Government has claimed it is done from Pakistan) and it has caused unrest in the North East where they believe the monks killed lots of muslims and the muslims are going to take revenge now! Such rumours always have a lot of buyers who are unaware of the facts.

In addition to this some SMSes started floating around the North East migrants that something bad is going to happen in their home states on 20th. Every one would say ‘A friend of mine told me that a friend of his heard from his friend whose friend was raped (or beaten up I am not sure) in some suburbs of Bangalore.’ In the past five days I heard similar rumours about someone getting beaten up in Chennai. There has been zero cases where anyone knows anyone who has suffered – it all friend’s friend’s friend’s friend only. Such rumours are very easy to create and circulate – with the latest technology tools we have today.

The Government of India has banned from sending more than five smses a day and this move appears to be helping curtail the rumour spreading faster.

Today is the 20th and let us see what happens today!

 

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