A Youtube video discussing COVID-19 vaccination status in India and misleadingly titled "those forcing people to mandatorily take the COVID-19 Vaccine will be fined 5 crore rupees" has gone viral on social media.
The video uploaded on August 29 by a Singapore-based woman who goes by the alias Tanya Cure by Nature is being shared over WhatsApp, Telegram and has over 64 thousand views on the YouTube channel with the same name.
In the 03:47 minute video, Tanya is heard speaking about how vaccination should not be mandatory and discusses the laws that are applicable in the country. She also discusses a specific court case as an example, filed by advocate Nilesh Ojha. The advocate has been in the news earlier for his support to an anti-vaccination initiative called "Awaken India Movement".
BOOM contacted Tanya who agreed that the title was meant to grab attention. "The title is eye-catching. It is only an example. I also have another subsequent video where I discuss the case and how to go about it with Nilesh Ojha, who is the lawyer," Tanya said.
BOOM also received the video on our WhatsApp tipline (+91 7700906588) from a user. The video has been circulated with the caption "good news for those who do not want to be vaccinated".
In the video, Tanya is seen talking about court judgements that ruled in favour of those opposing vaccinations. The Manipur High Court on July 13 ruled that it was illegal to connect vaccination status to employment after a PIL was filed in the court. This PIL was filed after a state government notification which proposed to prioritise opening of institutions, organisations, factories, shops, markets, private offices etc after its employees and workers were fully vaccinated.
Along with explaining this case, Tanya spoke about a summons filed by advocate Nilesh Ojha on behalf of a person who was allegedly forcibly vaccinated. Tanya mentioned that the person was forcibly vaccinated and had subsequently sued the authorities for five crore rupees.
This case is still sub-judice and a ruling is still awaited but Tanya's misleading video title makes it sound that everyone would be eligible to receive compensation.
Acknowledging that her headline is sensational, Tanya told BOOM, "Headline is eye-catching. I have discussed the details of the case in the next video. My only aim was to make people aware about these actions. Nobody is to be forced to vaccinate as it is not mandatory in the country, and if they are forced to be vaccinated, they have this option."
In the next video, Advocate Nilesh Ojha talks about one of his clients, sent to police custody in Mumbai was forcibly vaccinated when he was being taken to the Arthur Road Jail. His family appealed that he was vaccinated against his will. Ojha filed a petition at a sessions court in Mumbai citing this forceful vaccination as a criminal offence and claiming 5 crore rupees as compensation for the interim.
Ojha also used sections of the Disaster Management Act, 2005 with other sections under the Atrocities Act against these police officers and doctors who forcibly vaccinated the prisoner and the matter is under review in the court. Ojha added that the Arthur Road police officials later changed their stance and stated that they did not force jail inmates to receive the vaccine but the JJ Marg Police station presented that they were asked by the jail officials to get them vaccinated.
This is not the first instance of citizens using legal options to oppose vaccination. Anti-vaccination channels have been using Telegram to share vaccine exemption letters if mandatory vaccination is brought into play across the country. This letter is being shared even though COVID-19 vaccination is not mandatory in the country. Earlier, they also shared letters asking for religious exemption from taking the vaccine by stating that ingredients used in the vaccines are hurting their religious sentiments.
Even though vaccination is voluntary, several institutions across India are opting for a full vaccinated status report to start reopening services. In Maharashtra, travelling in the Mumbai Suburban railway network requires a fully vaccinated certificate verified by railway officials. Even employees at malls as well as visitors to the malls across the city are expected to be fully vaccinated.
Similarly, while travelling domestically, some Indian states forego a negative RT-PCR test if the passenger is fully vaccinated.