COVID-19 impact: Navi Mumbai cops have a hard time as curfew fake news goes viral
Three viral fake news items in the last four days add to police's burden as COVID-19 cases continue to rise in NMMC's jurisdiction
While the COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC), the Navi Mumbai police department is having a tough time dealing with rumours. In last four days, rumours claiming Janta Curfew or a complete lockdown resulted in a panic-like situation in various parts of Navi Mumbai. However, alert cops managed to tackle the misinformation by alerting the citizens and booked two people.
Despite the systematic management and strategy, COVID-19 cases in NMMC and Panvel Municipal Corporation area are on the rise with more than 250 cases in Navi Mumbai Police Commissionerate area.
"On the night of April 27, a message was posted on a WhatsApp group that, as cases of Coronavirus had increased in Kamothe, to break the chain, a complete lockdown or Janta Curfew was announced from April 30 to May 3. The message further said that only medical shops and hospitals would function," an officer from Kamothe police station said.
"A police officer was part of the group who alerted us and we immediately started verifying the message which was fake. So we summoned the group admins Amol Shitole and Ganesh Shinde, who were questioned and booked," added the officer.
But as a result of the message, on April 28, several residents came out to buy groceries and other household items. To contain the situation, cops went to every shop and stores to assure people.
The same panic-like situation was observed at Kopar Khairane and Juinagar on Wednesday, after the same message with the name of 'Corona Nirmulan Samiti' went viral – with the only difference being the location. As soon as the message went viral, grocery stores ran dry within a few hours. "We don't know the origin of these messages. But some people deliberately spread such messages, which not only spreads panic but also hampers our tireless work of almost a month" a senior police officer said.
Speaking with mid-day, Sanjay Kumar, Navi Mumbai Police Commissioner said, "We have noticed the spread of messages in the social media groups of non-existent curfew and are dealing strongly with such rumour mongers. People should keep track of official accounts and words about such important decisions."
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