False: 300 Positive COVID-19 Cases In Jaipur After Smoking Chillum

BOOM reached out to deputy director (public relations) collectorate, Jaipur, Rajnish Sharma, who rubbished the narrative and termed the news report fake.

A viral newspaper clipping stating that 300 individuals were infected with COVID-19 after smoking a chillum, a traditional smoking pipe that was reportedly used by a coronavirus positive sadhu in Jaipur is false.

The narrative started doing the rounds on social media after the newspaper clipping was viral and several websites, including 'News Jharkhand' reported about the incident. (Click here to read )

The viral clipping stated that Jaipur witnessed several positive cases of COVID-19 after a sadhu infected 300 people through the chillum that he was smoking. The headline of the newspaper clipping reads: "300 people are Corona positive due to a monk's chillum! Incident of transport nagar in Jaipur". (Original text in Hindi: जयपुर में साधु की एक चिलम से हुए 300 करोना पॉजिटिव! जयपुर के ट्रांसपोर्ट नगर की घटना). The viral news report has been headlined as, "300 people became Corona Positive due to a monk's chillum in Jaipur, spread panic." (Original headline in Hindi: जयपुर में साधु की एक चिलम से हुए 300 करोना पॉजिटिव, मचा बवाल). Click here to view the archive of the article.

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The claims mentioned in the viral newspaper clipping are unfounded. BOOM reached out to the deputy director (public relations) collectorate, Jaipur, Rajnish Sharma, who rubbished the narrative and termed the news report fake.

Two such viral posts can be seen below. Click here and here for the archive.

The screenshot of the website can be seen below.

Netizens are also citing a clipped news bulletin of Rajasthan Patrika news channel to share the same narrative. However, in the news bulletin, the reporter states that around 300 were quarantined after coming in contact with a COVID-19 positive patient. Several tweets have given a communal spin to the narrative and compared it with the Tablighi Jamaat congregation that was held in Delhi's Nizamuddin in March. Several devotees had contracted the virus in this religious congregation.

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Fact Check

BOOM spoke to Rajnish Sharma, from the District collectorate, Jaipur. He rubbished the claims and said that the newspaper clipping is not true.

Sharma said, "The newspaper clipping is a piece of dated misinformation that was doing the rounds for a couple of weeks. Jaipur's subdivision officer Yugantar Sharma and chief medical health officer Narottam Sharma investigated the matter and found that the claims stating that 300 sadhus infected with coronavirus through a chillum were not true. The probe results further could establish that the news articles were unsubstantiated."

Sharma further clarified about 300 people being quarantined in Jaipur. He said, "We have checked on people as per the routine process and have quarantined who came in the suspect's contact. But this is certain that there is no such case where the virus spread through smoking a chillum."

BOOM also reached out to Jayant Sharma from Rajasthan Patrika, who reported about the incident. Jayant said, "A section of the media misidentified the COVID-19 positive person as a sadhu. Approximately 250-300 people had to be self-quarantined as preventive measures. The patient's close contacts, around 22 people, were sent to an institutional quarantine facility."

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The Press Information Bureau's (PIB) Jharkhand and Rajasthan branches have corroborated the information and debunked the fake claims on Twitter.

The clarification states: "Claim: A news portal "News Jharkhand" has claimed that the corona infection has spread to 300 people due chillam of a Sadhu in the Transport Nagar area of ​​Jaipur. #PIBFactCheck: According to the District Collector, Jaipur, there is no truth of the news published and no such incident has happened."

BOOM could not independently verify the viral newspaper clipping.

Claim Review :   News clipping claims that a sadhu spread coronavirus to 300 people in Jaipur.
Claimed By :  Social media
Fact Check :  False
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