Chief Minister Amarinder Singh Thursday warned his Delhi counterpart Arvind Kejriwal against trying to exploit the Covid crisis to instigate people in Punjab’s villages, which, he said, have witnessed a spurt of fake news and provocative videos, at least one of which was found to have emanated most likely Pakistan and propagated here by an active worker of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).
In a statement, the CM said that AAP’s Amrinder Singh has been arrested and is being questioned to ascertain who motivated him to circulate the post of a body to “mislead” the people of Punjab into believing that organs of dead coronavirus patients were being removed by the state health department.
“The video/post allegedly propagated by the AAP worker was seen to be exhorting and provoking people not to cooperate with health authorities, thus endangering the health and safety of the residents,” the CM said.
“Such rumours are provoking a section of the community to resist proper medical care which needs to be provided to all Covid- affected citizens, which is a clear case of a deadly criminal conspiracy against the people of the state who are already suffering due to the pandemic,” he said.
There were enough indications of a massive plot by elements inimical to the interests of Punjab, he said, adding that the police on Thursday morning registered another case in Patiala on a complaint by a local journalist, who was offered USD 100 for making and circulating a false video on Covid scare.
Amarinder said Kejriwal’s announcement in the midst of the shocking viral campaign, asking AAP workers to go around villages and streets of Punjab to check people’s oxygen levels, raised serious questions on the role of his party in the alleged conspiracy to undermine the Punjab government’s efforts to keep the pandemic under check.
The Delhi CM’s decision could have grave repercussions for Punjab’s security and integrity, Amarinder Singh claimed, asking Kejriwal to not “play into the hands of anti-India forces from across the border”.
In a video message, Kejriwal on Wednesday had appealed to the people of Punjab to help AAP volunteers in carrying out the campaign. “AAP is taking oximeters to every street, neighbourhood and village of Punjab. Workers will go to every house and check the oxygen level of people. If someone’s oxygen level is found to have dropped and (we) will help in taking him to hospital and this way, (we) will try to save lives of people in villages,” he had said.
Amarinder asked Kejriwal to stay out of Punjab and focus on managing Covid in Delhi, where the situation was worsening by the day. “We don’t need your oximeters. We just need you to rein in your workers in Punjab, where they are trying to incite my people into not going to hospitals to get themselves tested and treated for Covid,” he said.
Meanwhile, giving details about AAP worker Amrinder Singh, officials said he is a resident of of village Mishriwala in Ferozepur and has been arrested in a case under sections 66 IT Act, 54 DMA and 153 IPC for circulation of false and misleading posts on social media platforms. Photographs and videos claiming that doctors were removing vital organs of Covid patients had been traced to 31-year-old, who was operating from Moga.
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