COVID-19 impact | Mumbai Police: Will track down everyone spreading hatred

Updated: Apr 06, 2020, 07:30 IST | Faizan Khan | Mumbai

Mumbai police register 85 FIRs and arrest 11 people for spreading communally-coloured messages on social media

A woman reads a hoarding on awareness for COVID-19 at a best bus stop at the AC Market on Saturday at Tardeo. Pic/Bipin Kokate
A woman reads a hoarding on awareness for COVID-19 at a best bus stop at the AC Market on Saturday at Tardeo. Pic/Bipin Kokate

The Maharashtra police have been cracking down on everyone found spreading rumours and trying to give COVID-19 a communal colour by sharing videos and pictures targeting the Muslim community after the Markaz Nizamuddin incident. The police have registered 85 FIRs so far and have arrested 11 people for inciting communal hatred in the name of Coronavirus.

Maharashtra DGP Subodh Jaiswal has given orders to his force to take strict action against those spreading hatred. The cyber cell of the Maharashtra police has become extra vigilant and is keeping close tabs on social media."We have started registering FIRs against those spreading fake messages with communal content on social media," said Milind Bharambe, special IG of Maharashtra police.

State Home Minister Anil Deshmukh too has said on his Twitter account that, "There'll be zero tolerance for bigotry. Brazen attempts to communalise the spread of the #CoronaPandemic has been brought to my notice. As Home Minister I've asked @MahaCyber1 to act against those sharing false/old videos to create tension. Treat this as a warning... No misinformation or rumour mongering will be tolerated."

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray who has been applauded by netizens for his efforts in dealing with the pandemic has also tweeted, "Like Coronavirus, there is another virus that is emerging which is threatening social harmony, the virus of fake news and communal hatred. We will save Maharashtra from this crisis. But, if someone circulates fake news or videos, the law will catch up with them. They will not be spared. Don't do this even for fun."

"This is the first time that we are witnessing this level of communal content being shared on social media to give pandemic a religious colour. We are blocking all such content and sharing details with the local police for registration of FIRs," a senior officer of the Mumbai police said.

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