Chandigarh, April 6, 2020 (Yes Punjab News)
Cracking down heavily on spread of rumours and panic in the light of COVID-19 crisis, the Punjab Police has registered 34 cases of fake news on social media, while also taking strong action against those targetting a particular community in an attempt to disturb the state’s peace.
As many as 27 of the 34 cases registered between March 21 and April 6, 2020, relate to WhatsApp forwards and misinformation, according to DGP Dinkar Gupta.
The police is also taking stern action against attempts to use social media to spread communal strife, he said, adding that a sedition case was registered on Friday against a Ludhiana resident
Among the prominent cases that have come to light are a FB post by a Ludhiana resident, seeking to mislead the people about availability of critical medical equipment, and to spread hatred against the state government. A sedition case has been registered against the person.
Fake Tik Tok vidoes, unsubstantiated audio messages, forwards of provocative and false news are all under the scanner of the Punjab Police, which is keeping a close eye on all such attempts. The DGP had earlier this month constituted a special team headed by a ADGP ranked officer to monitor all social media platforms to check any instance of fake news or rumour affecting citizens during lockdown.
Giving details of some of the key cases registered in the last 17 days, the DGP said 5 cases have been filed in Sangrur and four in Bathinda for crimes relating to spreading fake videos and false audio messages, and creating panic by spreading fake news on WhatsAapp regarding death of a person due to coronavirus, disclosed the DGP.
In Patiala, an FIR was filed for spreading fake news regarding deployment of military, said the DGP, adding that Amritsar Rural Police arrested a Shiv Sena leader for trying to foment communal passions through his Facebook post.
An FIR has been registered in Police Station Qila Lal Singh in district Batala against the Granthi of village Dalam for announcing that milk should not be procured from Gujjar community.
In another such instance, a case has been registered in Adampur against a person who claimed to be immune to COVID 19 and asked people to drink water with onion as a cure against the deadly disease.
Three cases of spreading rumours have been field in Ludhiana, Sri Muktsar Sahib, and Jalandhar with Hoshiarpur, Moga, Faridkot, Mohali and Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar registering one case each. Two cases each have been registered in Fatehgarh Sahib and Amritsar.
Reiterating his warning against any attempt to exploit the current crisis by spreading mischievous and unsubstantiated information which can create unnecessary panic and hardship to people, the DGP said the strictest penal action would be taken against the offenders. Dinkar Gupta also urged the general public not to create panic or unrest through malicious forwards and social media posts.