12 April 2020 I A “Nepalese citizen” is trying to smuggle dozens of COVID-19 positive patients across the international border to infect Indian people with coronavirus, a private television channel in India has claimed.
The man in question however is an elected local government official in Parsa District of Nepal.
Jalim Miya Mukhiya now has some basic questions for the Indian TV channel: “Am I a factory? Am I a factory that produces coronavirus? Did I also send it to China, and also to America and now pareparing to send to India?”
Earlier today, he told a Nepalese media outlet that the report by the Indian channel was baseless and that there should be an immediate investigation into the matter. He was ready to go anywhere to face justice if there was any truth in the claims and if not, those who disseminated false information must be prosecuted, he urged Indian authorities.
Nishant Chaturvedi, the host of the television channel that made the allegations against the Nepalese mayor, coined phrases like “corona bomb” and “corona missile” to describe the people who his programme claimed were being holed up in a Nepalese mosque waiting to be taken into India.
The claims made by the Indian channel is now coming across as a bizzare rant after the supposed smuggler of arms, counterfeit currency and coronavirus-infected people gave interviews to Nepalese media claiming his innocence and the full support of Nepalese authorities. He has also claimed that “hundreds of thousands of people” (Nepalese people) from across the world are reaching out to him to express their solidarity with him.
Mr Mukhiya told a Nepalese TV channel that he has already written letter to the Indian embassy in Kathmandu complaining about the news report on TV9.
There have been a number of social media posts in India too decrying the news report about the Nepalese man. Former Memember of Parliament from Bihar, Pappu Yadav, posed a pertinent question: How could it be posible for someone in Nepal to send 40-50 infected people to India whereas the country itself had a total of 9 coronavirus positive patients?
नेपाल में कुल 9करोना पॉजिटिव हैं,उसमें भी एक रिकवर कर गया है तो वहां से 40-50 करोना पॉजिटिव कहां से आ सकता है?
पश्चिम चंपारण जिले में 180लोगों का करोना टेस्ट हुआ है,एक भी करोना पॉजिटिव नहीं पाया गया है। ऐसे में DM और SSB के कमांडेंट का पत्र उन्माद पैदा करने वाला प्रतीत होता है। pic.twitter.com/Deg6Yk92lg
— Sewak Pappu Yadav (@pappuyadavjapl) April 10, 2020
The claims made by TV9 channel was based on intelligence input by India’s border-guarding force SSB.