Coronavirus outbreak: Viral free food message brings thousands to Vile Parle shop

Updated: 21 March, 2020 07:44 IST | Shirish Vaktania | Mumbai

Daily wage earners turn up at supermarket with empty bags only to be confronted by a notice at the door stating that the message was fake

The Gala supermarket in Vile Parle
The Gala supermarket in Vile Parle

A Vile Parle shopkeeper allegedly had thousands flocking to his store on Friday after a viral message claimed that the shop is giving basic food items for free to daily wage earners. Over 2,000 people rushed to Gala supermarket at SV Road only to find the notice, "This is a rumour. There is no free grocery here."

The shop's owner, Rajesh Gala, told mid-day, "Since morning, around 2,000 people turned up after reading the fake message. We never told anyone that we are giving free groceries. I have also informed Juhu police about the matter."

Senior Inspector of Juhu police, Pandharinath Wavhal, said, "When we received the message we told the shopkeeper to not invite people and create a crowd. We will take action against those creating crowds."

Women seen outside  Gala supermarketWomen seen outside Gala supermarket

Ajit Sukla, a friend of Gala, said, "I have been outside the shop since morning. Before it opened there were 60-70 people in a queue. They kept coming with empty carry bags."

The viral read, "We have made arrangements for people whose house runs on their daily income but due to Coronavirus their income has stopped. These people can get food items free of cost from Gala Super Market. (sic)"

A daily wage labourer, Rani Singh, said, "As work has stopped everywhere, I am jobless. I received the message early on Friday. I rushed to this shop with empty bags but found the notice instead."

A notice outside Gala supermarket informs customers about the fake message
A notice outside Gala supermarket informs customers about the fake message

Four other women too came to the shop looking for grains and oil. "We came hoping that we will get basic food items such as rice, dal, oil and masalas free of cost. We even showed the message to the shopkeeper but they said it's fake."

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First Published: 21 March, 2020 07:24 IST

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