The Managing Editor of Akila newspaper says it was a an April Fool’s Story; but on November 8 Akila had Got it exactly right
In the midst of the hubbub surrounding the secrecy of PM Modi’s plan to eliminate the currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000, an image of a clipping from a Gujarati newspaper doing rounds on WhatsApp and Social Media is leaving readers perplexed.
The clipping from a Saurashtra-based Gujarati newspaper Akila dated April 1 declares that the government has taken a decision to remove the 500-Rupee and 1,000-rupee notes from circulation. This news dates back to a month before Modi government had even conceived the plan, which is said to have happened around six months ago, i.e. in the month of May, according to the news reports.
Clarifying on the image of the report that has left many befuddled, Kirit Ganatra, managing editor, Akila Press told SabrangIndia, “The story was printed as a joke on April 1, since it was the April Fools’ day. Many newspapers from Saurashtra follow the tradition of printing a spoof news report on April 1 and we do it every year. Coincidentally, it turned out to be true this year.”
When asked about the uncanny similarities between the spoof report and the actual decision to scrap the said currency, he said, “People have been discussing and suggesting this move as a solution since quite a long time. This solution seems pretty obvious when one thinks about the possible ways to deal with the black money in the country. That’s why we wrote so in the spoof report. We had no access to any inside information whatsoever.”
However, the details of the announcement by PM Modi mysteriously match with the information mentioned in the Gujarati article.
A Loose translation of the report is summarised below:
‘Decision to Remove 500-100 Notes from Circulation’
Whoever has Rs 500 or 1000 notes, should go and change them before June 30. Transactions for higher than Rs 2,000 have to be done through electronic cards, debit cards and electronic means only. Cash more than a certain amount cannot be kept at home. These are some of the moves to stop the flow of black money and corruption, as decided by Narendra Modi on the conclusion of two years his government.
News of this historic decision has come to light. Use of fake currency for terrorist and anti-social activities will thus be stopped. Notes of these denominations in the possession of people should be surrendered by June 30.
By this move, black money will be cleaned and India will surge forward. The government’s move will have no impact on ordinary people and is only meant to expose the corrupt and those functioning with black money currency.
One of the differences between the spoof report and the real incident is that the spoof talks about a three-month-window to return the currency. But, the announcement by PM Modi on November 8 prompted overnight scrapping of the said currency, while he also introduced design of the new notes of Rs 500 and Rs 2,000. Nonetheless, the mention of one of the intents of the move to deal with terrorism remains the same in both the stories.
While the planning to execute the so-called biggest move was reportedly kept secret from Modi’s own cabinet until Tuesday afternoon, reading about its details in a paper from even before the conception of the plan raises eyebrows, and some hard questions.