Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan slammed rumour mongers on Saturday after it came to light that Friday’s reports of a Japanese merchant ship rescuing 60 Kerala fishermen caught in the deep seas, was “fake”. Vijayan called those spreading the rumours “mad”. It was Thiruvananthapuram district Collector S.Vasuki who told the media, on Friday evening, that she wished to thank the Japanese government as one of their ships had rescued 60 fishermen after Cyclone Ockhi struck the Kerala coasts. She said they would arrive at the Vizhinjam coast. Following which, a huge crowd of anxious fishermen waited in Vizhinjam expecting to welcome their missing relatives. Many ambulances were also asked to be stationed at the port. Later fresh news came that the Japanese ship since it was on its way to Kochi, it would drop the fishermen there. It was only late in the night that truth surfaced: “It was a fake news”. “Don’t you know, some people are mad, who make use of bad times to spread such things,” said Vijayan and pointed out “around 400 fishermen have so far been rescued”, while around 100 are yet to be traced.
State Fisheries Minister J. Mercykutty was also upset over the false news being spread, especially related to rescue operations. “The state government is doing its best and all the agencies are fully engaged in rescue operations and it’s unfortunate that at this time, some trouble makers are coming out with false news… “We will never blame the anxious people who are waiting for their near and dear ones,” Mercykutty, however, added. The rescue operations jointly launched by the Indian Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard after Cyclone Ockhi hit the southern districts of Kerala and Tamil Nadu, resumed on Saturday with 102 Kerala fishermen yet to return home, a top state official said.