The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) said it has urged the Haryana government to curb misinformation being spread regarding 5G testing being responsible for the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a letter to Haryana Chief Secretary Vijai Vardhan, the telecom operators have said some miscreants are spreading rumours that deaths and health problems faced by people due to COVID-19 are caused by the testing of 5G and not coronavirus.
These rumours are spreading at a time when 5G testing has not even started in the country and the government has only given permission for doing 5G testing, which is yet to start, the COAI said in a statement here.
Telecom operators have kept Haryana, Punjab and Chandigarh out of their list of places for doing testing of the 5G network, the association said.
Recently, Haryana BKU chief Gurnam Singh Chudani has hinted that the COVID-19 spread might be due to 5G testing being done.
The COAI letter stated, “We would hereby like to highlight that these types of rumours have spread over the past two weeks, mainly in semi-urban and rural areas. There has been a rise in such misinformation in the state of Haryana.”
The letter stated that there have been incidences in Haryana wherein the farmer groups are also getting agitated over the myth of linking the COVID-19 pandemic with 5G services.
Several farmers from Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh have been sitting on three borders near Delhi for about six months demanding repeal of the new three farm laws.
The Association said, “We would like to state that such misinformation or rumours being spread are baseless, and there is no evidence or fact to suggest that there is any harmful effect of the 5G services with relation to COVID-19.”
The letter has also quoted the World Health Organization’s (WHO) statement saying that “viruses cannot travel on radio waves or mobile networks. COVID-19 is spreading in various countries which do not have 5G networks.”
COAI has also requested the chief secretary to instruct the district authorities to safeguard telecom infrastructure and related assets and take tough action against miscreants spreading such misinformation.
In Uttar Pradesh also, such rumours were being spread, following which the UP Police headquarters wrote a letter to all the commissioners of the state, issuing instructions to them to take strict action against those spreading rumours. After this, such rumours in UP have decreased, the COAI said.
Recently, following such rumours, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) in its statement said these messages are false.
It stated that the public is informed that there is no connection between 5G technology and the outbreak of COVID-19. And, the public is urged not to be misguided by the false information and rumours being spread in this matter, the statement added.
The DoT also clarified that testing of the 5G network has not even started anywhere in India.