Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan has been targeted online for tweeting a fake information related to the “Janta Curfew”, or public curfew, as Prime Minister Modi called for people to remain home and to "stand at doors or on balconies and clap for five minutes" to thank people battling the novel coronavirus at 5pm.
On Sunday, WhatsApp messages started to circulate online suggesting that Modi had picked 5pm because it is the time when "evil forces were most active" and that "clapping or shankh (conch shell) vibrations would ward them off". Amitabh Bachchan retweeted one of the messages.
In the now deleted tweet, he wrote: "T 3479 - AN OPINION GIVEN : 5 pm ; 22nd Mar, 'amavasya', darkest day of month ;virus, bacteria evil force at max potential & power ! Clapping shankh vibrations reduce/ destroy virus potency Moon passing to new 'nakshatra' Revati. cumulative vibration betters blood circulation", along with a black-and-white photograph of himself. Lest he be accused of spreading misinformation, the veteran actor began his tweet with, in all-caps, "AN OPINION GIVEN".
However, the Bollywood megastar's tweet spread like a wildfire and made many netizens demand an apology from him for spreading rumours, despite the authenticity of the tweets being checked by the Press Information Bureau (PIB), a nodal agency disseminating news from the government of India to the media.
— Multiple Attitude Dude (@mAd___00) March 23, 2020
— Rajiv Tyagi (@RTforINDlA) March 23, 2020
— A V I C H E Q U E (@avicheque) March 23, 2020
— ɪsᴏʟᴀᴛᴇᴅ ᴅʀ. sʜɪsʜɪᴍᴀʀᴜ (@Brainhumour) March 23, 2020
— ASIM (@asimmusings) March 23, 2020
— PradhaanSewak (@PradhaanSewak) March 23, 2020
India has been put under a partial lockdown, with most states following up on the federal government’s decision to shut commercial establishments, public transport, except essential services for varying periods from Sunday, 22 March to 31 March as a preventive step against COVID-19, which has so far claimed seven lives and infected 415 in the country.