The Pulwama attack and the subsequent volatile atmosphere seem to have done nothing to deter rumour-mongers. While a fake picture of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi with the suicide bomber was circulated on social media, another example was observed much closer to home, where a video of a mock drill in Virar was shared as the arrest of a terrorist in Jalgaon.
Even as Maharashtra woke up to fresh news updates about the attack on Friday, a 45-second video, supposedly of a terrorist being caught in a mall in Jalgaon started doing the rounds on WhatsApp. Within a couple of hours, it made its way to other social media platforms, with some Facebook users sharing it on their pages with captions saying that an Islamic terrorist had been caught in Jalgaon with guns and explosives on his person.
By Friday afternoon, however, the Palghar police, who learned about the video, dispelled the rumours. “We received calls from some of our informants, who told us that the video, supposedly of a terrorist being caught in Jalgaon, was very similar to our mock drill conducted on Thursday. Our mock drill, too, was based on a similar situation, where one of our men posed as a terrorist and entered a crowded shopping centre and our quick response teams nabbed him. After viewing the video clip, we ascertained that it was a recording taken from outside the shopping centre where the ‘terrorist’ was being taken into our vehicle,” an officer with the Palghar police said.
Police inspector Sunil Mane, Arnala police station, in whose jurisdiction the shopping centre falls, confirmed that the video was of their mock drill conducted on Thursday.
The video also has someone’s voice, presumably of the one recording the clip, saying in Marathi that a terrorist has been caught and two firearms have been seized from him.
Meanwhile, the Maharashtra Cyber Crime Cell has initiated a probe into the matter. Special Inspector General of Police Brijesh Singh, Cyber Security, Maharashtra, said, “The matter has been brought to our attention and we are looking into it.”
Similarly, a set of pictures of Congress president Rahul Gandhi, supposedly posing with Adil Ahmad Dar, the suicide bomber, went viral on Facebook. However, several news portals quickly found out that the pictures were morphed and put out articles to that effect.