Chennai, October 7: Since last one week the health of Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa has become the subject of feverish speculation, especially on social media including people on WhatApp declaring her dead after every hour. Last week a photograph started surfacing on social media with a caption, “Jayalalithaa is on the ventilator”. All this is taking place after several attempts made by the AIADMK leaders who are coming forward and had reportedly quashed the rumours. Also, Apollo Hospital in Chennai where Jayalalithaa was admitted on September 22 and where she is currently recuperating are issuing regular bulletins about her health conditions.
In Tamil Nadu, police officials had repeatedly warned people to stop spreading rumours on social media and two days ago a woman was booked by the police for spreading the rumour about Jayalalithaa’s health condition. A WhatsApp rumour about Jayalalithaa’s health started surfacing across the nation and even people in Maharashtra has started sharing the “information” without cross-checking the facts. On Friday evening a WhatsApp message in several groups which was written in Marathi said, “Tamil Nadu’s Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa died today”. People in the same WhatApp group also started consoling after reading the rumour.
The rumour about Jayalalithaa’s condition started growing more after the leader of opposition and DMK chief M Karunanidhi asked for Jayalalithaa photograph and proof about her health condition, which was later denied by the leaders of AIADMK. Last Saturday the rumours about Jayalalithaa’s health were set ablaze and people on Amma’s Wikipedia page started to edit her date of death on the edit page. The editing on Jayalalithaa’s Wikipedia page began from Saturday morning at around 6:00 am and continued to escalate for one day. But after Sunday even moderators at Wikipedia placed a lock on her official page which said, “This article is is protected to promote compliance with the policy on biographies of living people”. Also Read – Jayalalithaa dead or alive: All out edit war on Wikipedia page of the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister
Experts believe that the shroud of secrecy surrounding Jayalalithaa, silence on her ailment and restriction on who can visit Amma have fuelled rumours and political war-of-words. On Thursday doctors at Appolo hospital indicated that Jayalalithaa had to stay in the hospital for more days, which would put more pressure on her party. On Friday evening Tamil Nadu governor Vidyasagar Rao met with top bureaucrat and two senior ministers including O Panneerselvam and E K Palanisamy.
The Governor’s consultation with the top bureaucrats comes a day after doctors attending to Jayalalithaa said she is on respiratory support and has been advised to remain at Apollo Hospital for next few days. Last week a team of doctors from Delhi’s premier AIIMS hospital joined a UK specialist in supervising Ms Jayalalithaa’s care. Jayalalithaa was admitted on September 22. AIADMK leaders said she was being treated for dehydration and fever at Appolo hospital. Also Read – Jayalalithaa Dead or Alive? Fake photo of ‘Amma on ventilator’ goes viral on WhatsApp