19 March 2019
Bhubaneswar: With General Elections knocking on the door, fake news has found its way in media trying to defame political leaders and parties at this crucial time. Bogus intelligence reports allegedly signed off by Director General of Police (DGP) have been doing the rounds in public platforms that twist the matter and present falsified claims. This was first seen during Karnataka’s 2018 assembly polls and has now surfaced in Odisha too. Let us look at the similarities between the two:
In Karnataka when the elections were set to be held in May 2018, a document dated April 16 came to the fore stating that the Intelligence department had allegedly carried out a ‘final survey in the State to assess the possible outcome of Elections’ acting on ‘instructions of the Chief Minister’s Office’.
The document advised Siddaramaiah to not contest from Chamundeshwari constituency because it was, “not viable due to strong caste based mobilisation of the Vokkaliga community being carried by GT Deve Gowda and other local leaders of the JDS party.” It further “recommended” four other constituencies for Siddaramaiah- Varuna, Basavakalyan, Gangavati and Shantinagar.
The document had been signed by the Additional Director General of Police following which B S Shanthakumar, DySp of State Intelligence Branch immediately pointed out that, “The post of the ADGP intelligence is vacant and these are bogus documents doing the rounds.”
Now let us come to Odisha. As soon as Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Monday announced that he would be contesting polls not only from his home constituency Hinjili but also from Bijepur in Western Odisha, documents of ‘survey’ conducted by State Intelligence Branch started doing the rounds. These reports too claimed that the Intelligence department had allegedly carried out a ‘review of the assembly constituencies as per instructions of the Chief Minister’s Office’.
The document that had been signed off by Director General of Police claimed that ‘there is dissatisfaction among local people due to lack of amenities and infrastructure’. The document also went on to ‘recommend’ four other constituencies for Naveen Patnaik instead of Hinjili- Rourkela, Bijepur, Bolangir or Titlagarh.
The repost was signed off by DG Police, Dr RP Sharma following which he immediately called a press conference and said, "A document purported to be assessment report of some assembly segments by Odisha Police Intelligence Department is completely fake.”
While the bogus intelligence reports followed a similar pattern in the two States, it is also interesting to note how both the times the saffron party BJP used it to their advantage. In Karnataka, Congress pointed fingers at BJP for spreading fake news and meanwhile in Odisha BJP went ahead and called a press conference to publicize the bogus document.
"This has been orchestrated by the DT or dirty tricks department of the BJP. It is a fake, false and fabricated document. The Police have also registered a FIR in this conenction," BJD Spokesperson Sasmit Patra said.
The real question now is- How far has this racket spread and where does this come to an end?