Man held for rumour-mongering on WhatsApp

35-year-old claimed Mumbai was going to be put under “military rule”

The JJ Marg police on Sunday arrested a 35-year-old man for allegedly spreading a rumour on WhatsApp about the armed forces being called into certain areas populated by minority communities to bring the residents “under control.”

According to the police, the message was first posted on a WhatsApp group called Mumbai Ekta and listed out several localities in south and suburban Mumbai, which are predominantly inhabited by a specific minority community.

The message was on to say that the people from these areas were blatantly flouting the lockdown and had become “bekaabu (out of control)”, due to which military forces had been called in to rein in the situation.

The message was circulated to several other groups and within the hour, strong rumours of Mumbai being put under “military rule” started doing the rounds, sparking off panic in the areas named in the message. The concerned police station and control room personnel found themselves besieged with calls from citizens asking about the situation.

A special police team, with the help of local informants and technical investigation methods, set about tracing the origins of the message and ultimately traced it to the WhatsApp group where it was first posted. From there, the police identified the accused as Sohail Punjabi and he was arrested.

Senior police inspector Sanjeev Bhole, JJ Marg police station, said, “We have booked the accused for rumour-mongering and disobeying an order promulgated by a public servant under the Indian Penal Code along with relevant sections of the Disaster Management Act. The accused was later granted bail.”

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Printable version | May 30, 2020 8:54:40 PM |

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