• Ankuran Dutta

#CheckTheFake-14: Beware of #Infodemic mess this Bihu!



April 14, 2020

As this Bohag #Bihu marks the beginning of the Assamese new year, people avoid gatherings and dedicates their fight against #COVID19.

The Bohag Bihu also called the Rongali Bihu starts right from Goru Bihu on Monday when people in villages are seen taking cows for the traditional bath near the ponds or rivers maintaining the norms of social distancing.

Though the spirit of Bihu is dampened by this pandemic; no people on the roads, no markets for Bihu shoppings, no groups of Bihu dancers into the lanes of the cities and villages completely reenergizes the spirit of people in fight against the novel coronavirus.

Apart from all these, people are not missing any chance to post on social media about their Bihu celebration amidst the ongoing national lockdown. This proves people are safe at home this Bihu.

Earlier, the state administration through a guideline on #COVID19 in sync with the Bihu celebration stated that not more than 5 people will assemble in marking the beginning of Bihu on Monday with a flag hoisting and will end with flag hoisting only.

Even the state health department had earlier issued an advisory asking all Bihu organizers to limit the celebrations into only the rituals and abide by the social distancing norms aimed to prevent the spread of Coronavirus.

All Guwahati Bihu Sanmilani Coordination Committee adviser Kailash Sarma on Monday hoisted the Bihu flag maintaining the norms of social distancing with maximum assemble of five people and also requested the other Bihu committees to do the same and conclude it with flag hoisting only.

"Only a few of us gathered in the morning at the historic Latasil playground, hoisted our traditional flag and sang the Bihu anthem. We also prayed to the Almighty to increase strength and capacity of our scientists so that they can come up with a vaccine and medicines to defeat #COVID19 soon," said Kailash Sarma.

Every year, at least 60 Rongali Bihu functions are held alone in Guwahati and over 1,000 in all over the State.

Organizers of the Bihu programmes also cancelled this year's celebrations including open field or stage performances in order to maintain social distancing to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Taking to the Twitter, Assam Director General of Police (DGP) Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta said, “In view of #COVID19 outbreak & to keep everyone safe, may we request Bihu Committees across the State to please: Have an assembly of only five People? Only for hoisting the Flag. Hoisting may be restricted to 30 minutes? #SocialDistancing be observed during the hoisting.”

#CheckTheFake on #COVID19

FAKE: People are invited in various competitions like song, paintings, bihu dances, etc. organized by different Bihu committees in the city on the occasion of the celebration of Bihu (Facebook posts).

FACT: These competitions are organized on social media by various Bihu committees in view to the maintenance of social distancing norms laid by the state administration during Bihu. No people are allowed to violate the national lockdown (ARMT Research).

#CheckTheFake is a movement against #Infodemic in this crisis, initiated by Dr Anamika Ray Memorial Trust #ARMT (www.armt.in) in collaboration with The Assam Tribune and Northeast Now (www.nenow.in) to create awareness on #fakenews on #Coronavirus and improve media literacy through #Cartoons. ARMT Research

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