Rumour Virus: At Least Four Others Booked

Mateen Hafeez, V Narayan & Pradeep Gupta TNN

Think twice before you hit ‘Send’ to forward that message you received on social media. People who are circulating messages without checking their efficacy are landing in trouble. A man from south Mumbai was arrested for circulating a rumour on Sunday while cases have been filed against others in the city and Ulhasnagar.

Dongri resident Sohail Salim Punjab (36) was arrested late on Sunday for allegedly posting fake messages on a Whatsapp group, claiming that the the military had been called in to maintain law and order in parts of south Mumbai as the situation had gone out of police control.

A case was registered against Punjab at JJ Marg police station, said deputy commissioner of police Sangramsingh Nishandar.

The message titled ‘Red Alert’ said: ‘Mumbai’s Null Bazar, Bhendi Bazar, Dongari,Madanpura, Kala Pani, Sat Rasta area is uncontrollable by police, Hence Military has been called.’ The fake message went on to add that the army would use lathis and fire rubber bullets.

A criminal offence was registered and its sender was traced to Pathanwadi locality in Dongri, the police said.

Similarly, in Ulhasnagar, a case has been filed against two, including a Shiv Sena man, for allegedly posting a video, claiming that the police were assaulting innocent people. The police said Sena leader Vijay Sawant and developer Raju Idnani had posted the video. The police said the video is an old one shot in another city.

Senior inspector of Ulhasnagar police station, Rajendra Kadam, said that they have booked the two men.

Also, police are on the lookout for people who have posted audio messages on social media listing dos and don’ts about coronavirus. The persons who recorded these messages have impersonated the commissioner of Mumbai police, Param Bir Singh, while posting these messages.

A senior police officer said they are trying to trace the source of these messages.

In another instance, a case ha been registered at Khar police station against an unidentified person for fanning a rumour that an employee of a a pharmacy in Khar was infected with coronavirus.

Deputy commissioner of police Paramjit Singh Dahiya said employees of the store learnt about the message when customers started inquiring about the message they had received. A case was filed at Khar police station.