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How Have State Chief Ministers Responded To Islamophobia Amidst COVID-19 Crisis?

In the blanket of criticism to a Muslim congregation, that sparked a new wave of COVID-19 cases in the country, Islamophobia has surfaced among people.

New Delhi| States across India have traced at least 30 per cent of total positive cases linked to the week-long event. And Islamophobia has been trending on Twitter since the news first broke on Monday.

While some people have resorted to spreading islamophobia and fake news in the same context, some state chief ministers have tightened the grip on tracking fake news being circulated widely and communal hatred on social media.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Saturday warned people against circulating “inflammatory content” about the coronavirus pandemic and said that the “virus” of fake news and communal hatred is threatening social harmony.

“Like Coronavirus, there is another virus that is emerging which is threatening social harmony, the virus of fake news and communal hatred,” Thackeray wrote on Twitter. “If someone circulates fake news or inflammatory content, my law will catch up with them. They will not be spared.”

Telangana CM K Chandrashekar Rao (KCR) had also stated that one should communalise the matter.

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jaganmohan Reddy has strongly condemned the attempts to give a communal colour to the deadly corona pandemic in the country in the backdrop of many people getting infected at Tableegi Jamat congregation in Delhi.

The statement came at a time when the spread of the deadly virus had picked up pace in both the Telugu states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

Also Read: 64 percent Indians likely to encounter fake news online: Microsoft survey

“Nobody should speak a word against Muslims. This is a warning. If anyone blames the entire Muslim community for some isolated incident, I’ll take action against them also without a second thought. Will not give an opportunity for that,” Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa told TV9, a Kannada channel in an exclusive interview. A 37-second long clip from the interview is now doing rounds on social media.

Tamil Nadu CM Tamil Nadu CM Edappadi K. Palaniswami said, “Coronavirus can affect anyone irrespective of their religion and caste. People should avoid giving it a religious colour. We should also avoid seeing those infected with this virus and their families with hate and instead treat them with love and compassion.”

“A virus has no religion and it spreads not on the basis of any religion or community. Some forces are trying to communalise the situation. They have started a virulent campaign on social media. Such attempts will not succeed in a state like Kerala,” the Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan said adding strict action will be taken against such people. “There is no need for such intolerance. We will not tolerate it,” he said.

However, most of the state ministers and other powerful people in the centre haven’t yet responded to the religious slurs floating widely on social media and TV channels.

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