Days after Home Minister Anil Deshmukh said that strict action will be taken against those spreading fake messages causing communal disharmony, the security guard of a Malad-based building in Mumbai was arrested on Thursday for calling the police with incorrect information of a communal nature.
Ironically, the guard himself called up the police control room (PCR), eventually leading to his arrest.
An officer from Malad police said that the incident took place in the afternoon when the PCR received a call from Sanjay Kumar Shah, a security guard in his thirties. The caller claimed that two men “dressed in pathani suits” have licked two Rs. 500 notes and thrown them on the road. He said that it appears they were trying to spread COVID-19.
Since the call was received from Malad, the PCR contacted the Malad police, which sent a team to the spot. “When we reached there, the security guard showed us two currency notes lying on the Goregaon-Mulund link road,” an officer said.
“However, while going through CCTV camera footage of the area, we found that a person had come out of a bank and the notes had fallen off his pocket,” the officer said. Following complaints by local residents, the police are checking if any video had been prepared by the guard about the “two men”.
Shah had been booked under sections 153(A) (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion), 290 (punishment for public nuisance) and 188 (not following orders of a public officer) of the IPC. “We have arrested Shah for creating rift between two communities,” said DCP (Zone XI) Mohan Dahikar.
Several fake videos, spreading misinformation about Muslims sneezing and licking currency notes, had been circulating on social media after the Tablighi Jamaat congregation at Nizamuddin Markaz in Delhi last month.
The state government, till Thursday, has registered 218 cases against fake news, rumours and hate speech circulated on social media. In the last seven days, 115 offences registered pertained to hate speech. Of the social media platforms, 102 cases were related to WhatsApp, 71 to Facebook and three each to Twitter and TikTok.
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