NEW DELHI: Individuals with intent to thwart India¨s progress are actively spreading rumours and misinformation, linking fifth generation (5G) with contagious Covid-19 pandemic, a Delhi-based telco group said.
“A few people with dangerous motives and intent to derail India¨s progress by actively spreading rumours and misinformation, linking 5G and Covid-19,” SP Kochhar, director-general of the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) said, adding that the country is set to enter into a new era in telecom and new-age technologies, spurred by next generation of network.
COAI represents Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea that are likely to start field trials with their preferred technology vendors following a recent go-ahead by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT).
“We have apprised the DoT and the Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) of the situation and urged them to take strict action against those instigating people to damage India¨s telecom infrastructure,” Kochhar said.
Several telecom towers and base transceiver stations (BTS) were vandalised following widespread rumours linking 5G radiations to severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) caused by Covid-19 or Coronavirus that was first reported in China’s Wuhan in late 2019.
The lobby group, however, rubbished radiation concerns saying the permitted limit in India remained one-tenth of the levels prescribed worldwide.
Friday, the Delhi High Court dismissed actress-turned activist Juhi Chawla’s lawsuit challenging the 5G networks rollout in the country, citing that the plaint was “not based on any special damage” suffered by plaintiff by electromagnetic radiation by cellular technology, and imposing a fine of Rs 20 lakh, observed that the petition was filed for publicity.
The telco group was one of the defendants in the case.
“India¨s telecom infrastructure contributes towards the economy and keeps us connected. As responsible citizens we need to ensure that it does not fall prey to damage by unscrupulous people,” Kochhar added.
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On May 15, citing national interest, Kocchar sought MeitY intervention to remove misleading campaigns and posts from popular social platforms such as Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter.
The claims linking the 5G technology with the Covid-19 pandemic are false and have no scientific basis. Moreover, it is informed that the testing of the 5G network has not yet started anywhere in India. Hence, the claim that 5G trials or networks are causing Coronavirus in India, is baseless and false, the group told the IT ministry.
Over the last few months, there have been widespread circulation of purported messages and posts on social media platforms particularly in the northern states of Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh claiming 5G technology as a trigger of Covid-19 pandemic and that has also compelled the DoT to debunk the disinformation last month.