COVID-19 in Mumbai: Slum-dwellers spread rumours, say police

Updated: Apr 17, 2020, 07:53 IST | Vishal Singh, Faizan Khan | Mumbai

Bandra police say videos and messages found on the mobile phones of the 10 accused have been sent for forensic analysis; journalist gets bail

People were arrested from Bandra's Shastri Nagar, Qureshi Nagar and Maharashtra Nagar slums
People were arrested from Bandra's Shastri Nagar, Qureshi Nagar and Maharashtra Nagar slums

The Bandra police, who by Thursday had arrested 12 people, including a journalist, in connection with Tuesday's protest, said the 10 people arrested from slums near the railway station are the main conspirators who allegedly spread rumours about trains resuming and money being distributed, on social media.

The 10 accused are residents of Shastri Nagar, Maharashtra Nagar and Qureshi Nagar slums in Bandra. According to police, each accused played a different role in the incident. An accused identified as Vishwa Amruddinn asked people to gather near Bandra station if they wanted to go home. Rauf Shaikh was heard saying in a video, "Koi aaraha hai ki nahin? 4 baje bulaya tha toh abhi kyun aagaye, jaane ka nahi, bolo ghar jaana hai ya R15,000 do, khaane ko paise nahin hai, jaane ka nahin, sab milke bolo." (Is anyone coming or not? You were called at 4 o'clock, why have you come now, don't leave, say let us go home or give R15,000, there's no money to buy food, don't leave, say it together).

Another accused identified as Aalam Sheikh is also accused of exhorting people to gather, Shamsher Ali Malik told migrants it's better to die in our own homes than dying here due to the Coronavirus.

Halal Hakimuddin Ali allegedly circulated messages asking residents to step out when migrants had gathered outside the station. Shahid Ibrahim Shaikh shot a video of the crowd and circulated it among others. Mohammad Arshad Anwar Shaikh, Allapak Sheikh and Shabbir S Shaikh told people to join the crowd. The tenth accused, Firoz Shaikh told everyone the government is going to run special trains.

"Some had videos and messages in their mobile phones and some were seen influencing others at the spot. The phones have been sent for forensic analysis. The analysis would help us find out who instigated people," an officer said.

"We have custody of the accused April 19," said Abhishek Trimukhe, DCP Zone IX.

On the other hand, during ABJ Majha journalist Rahul Kulkarni's custody hearing, police said they want to probe the motive behind his news story about trains resuming. Kulkarni's advocate Subodh Desai argued, "His arrest is illegal. If police wanted to know the motive, they could have questioned him first. But they arrested him. My client is available for questioning and will cooperate with the probe." Kulkarni was granted bail on a personal bond of Rs 15,000.

Total no. of accused arrested so far

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