Few days after a 41-year-old Khoisnam Shantikumar Singh from Imphal West was arrested for allegedly uploading a video on Facebook and WhatsApp, spreading false and misleading information on Covid-19 vaccination, a Pastor in Meghalaya has been allegedly advising his followers against vaccination.
Pastor Phawa is said to be a cult leader and he has been persuading his followers to reject the jab.
The pastor reportedly went around telling parents not to send their children to schools and reject government schemes such as MGNREGA, ration cardholder scheme among others and also advised against Aadhaar enrolment as enrolling for the same would generate a unique identification number, drawing parallel to that of the mark of devil in the Christian holy Scripture. No report of the cult pastor being arrested is reported.
There have been reports of similar elements among Christians in Nagaland and Manipur where such unsubstantiated narratives and rumours is being spread at large on social media especially WhatsApp during the crucial period of Covid-19 second wave, efforts by the state government mass inoculation drive is effectively hampered, endangering the entire population for future third wave.
The number of persons who have taken complete two doses in Manipur till June 20 stands at 82,027 of the 19.85 lakh people (2001 census).
Meanwhile, the Nagaland Baptist Church (NBCC) drawing attention to wrongful interpretation of vaccination from the Bible on June 21 issued a statement requesting people to refrain from making irrelevant and wrongful interpretation of the Bible. NBCC in its statement asserted that vaccination and personal salvation, vaccination and Millennial Kingdom of Christ, or even vaccination and comprehensive Christian faith were being allegedly projected by “some sources” as incompatible. It also added that Covid-19 vaccine is “a hard-earned effort by the community of scientists and researchers, aided by the most advanced research technologies to serve humanity.”
Nagaland, according to Hindustan Times is lagging behind in Covid-19 vaccination, lowest among the eight states in Northeast India. Health officials are blaming vaccine hesitancy among residents of Nagaland, a predominantly Christian faith community.