Pranksters land philanthropists in tight spot

Jagath Kalamanda from Virajpet was surprised when was flooded by phone calls with requests for temporary shelter at his service apartment.

The callers, total strangers to Kalamanda, claimed to have been rendered homeless due to recent floods and landslides in Kodagu, Dakshina Kannada and Chikkamagalur districts.

Kuttanda Lokesh from Ammathi Karmad also was stumped after being swamped with phone calls. The phone calls ended with similar requests on being provided food and shelter in the temple, owned by Lokesh, until the end of monsoon.

The mystery around the deluge of phone calls was solved when the duo were informed that their offer on providing temporary shelter to those rendered homeless in recent floods and landslides was
being widely circulated on social media platform, WhatsApp. Kalamanda had indeed volunteered to provide shelter for the homeless in their service apartment in Virajpet. “But that was a year ago. Now, we ourselves are in trouble. How can we offer shelter to others?” he asked.

Lokesh told DH that he had offered his temple as temporary shelter in the previous monsoon. “This time I have not made any appeal. Only yesterday, the power supply to the temple was restored,” the philanthropist informed.

Devaraj from Mysuru said he too was flooded with calls from people responding to his last year’s offer of providing temporary shelter in a resort in Nanjarayapatna. “This time I could not make such an appeal as the level of River Cauvery is too high,” he said.

The pranksters by recirculating the old offers on social media had caused Kalamanda, Lokesh and Devaraj a plenty of mental anguish.

“When I had replied in negative to the requests on offering shelter in my resort, many callers abused me of getting free publicity for the resort and having no intention to serve those in disadvantage,” Devaraj rued.

So next time do not be tempted to forward a message offering free stay for those affected by floods and landslides as it could fake, as vouched by philanthropists.

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