Karachi rains: misinformation, misleading news on crocodiles, swimming.
With the torrential rains in Pakistan’s southern port region, social media, as well as WhatsApp, have been overwhelmed with bogus news stories, photos, and photographs declaring changes that have little foundation in fact.
Several stories circulated on social media, including some saying that people jumped into broad rainwater ponds and that the renowned Manghopir crocodiles had fled. Videos of crocodiles swimming in a body of water were shared with lyrics such as the popular Manghopir reptiles “killing on city roads,” particularly on Twitter.
The most famous and posted video is from Vadodara in India’s Gujarat, but it was circulated without any proof at all, with the senders saying that the Manghopir crocodiles had escaped to Karachi. Leaks of these bogus ‘creatures’ have been buffeted by those who want to instigate false theories, to instill distrust in men, or to create cynical jibes in the leadership.
The impartial checking of the evidence by the Indian newspaper on 1 October 2019 also revealed the footage from Vadodara. At the point, it was posted with a caption saying that it was from Patna in Bihar, India, which was incorrect again. Speaking to Javed Mahar, the Wildlife Conservator at the Sindh Forest and Wildlife Department, he debunked the claims of Manghopir crocodiles roaming Karachi.
He said he sent a team — trained to examine bogus social network videos — to Karachi’s Central District after getting calls from worried individuals alleging that there was a crocodile in the nearby school playground.
Manghopir Shrine & Crocodile Sanctuary claimed there were no openings in the walls to avoid the reptiles. “The crocodiles cannot scale the walls either, and the water is not [high] enough for them to be able to flee,” said Khalifa Sajjad, whose ancestors were also guardians of the shrines. “They’re not wild or dangerous. The walls are 20-25 foot tall and there’s a mechanism for rainwater to drain out automatically,” he said.
“In addition, closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras have also been mounted if the crocodiles somehow try to flee or if anyone wants to rob them,” he said. In another event, videos and photos from the flood in Bangladesh were posted, suggesting that the scene was from the settlements around the Hub Dam. Much of the people who shared it were unable to understand the type of speech in the video either — it was completely different from Karachi. Only the misery of Surjani Town was not spared, and the original audio from a video from India was dubbed and posted.
Another video shows a man jumping into a wide body of water, in a scene he reported to be from Karachi and posted with the #KarachiRains hashtag. Footage of a related event was reported to have been connected to it, except that it was taken from a separate perspective. The narration accompanying the video shows that it is from the town of Surjani in Karachi, where the narrator is taking a satirical jibe at the government of sindh.
There are, indeed, other variables to recognize. For eg, in the first picture, the individual who falls into the water is left first. Also, no one on this side seems to be observing his hop. In the other picture, which is said to be from another perspective, the individual who jumps into the water is second to left; in comparison, before jumping into the sea, He scales the boundary wall — something the diver doesn’t do in the first picture. It has been a popular trend to distort the facts and post it with social media for a few likes and retweets. Much as ‘not everything that glitters is gold,’ not all on social media is real either.
It is commendable that some conscientious people have posted videos reflecting the real situation in Karachi in an effort to alert others not to go to this region or to carry the desperate circumstances to the notice of the authorities in Sindh.