Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh clarified Tuesday that two audio messages being vigorously circulated on social media platforms had been falsely attributed to him. Mumbai police had earlier called out the two audio clips, one of which refer to police action to enforce the 21-day lockdown and the second to a possible spike in coronavirus cases. Cyber police have now written to WhatsApp and asked them to track the source of the message.
In a 2.06-minute audio clip, a man is heard purportedly claiming that many people were moving around in their cars despite the lockdown. “Jo log nahin sudhrenge, unhe kanoon ke hisaab se hi samjhana padega. Kal main civil kapdo mein, private gaadi lekar nikla tha, kai societies mein gaye… log neeche sair kar rahein hain (Those who are not following the lockdown restrictions, will be dealt as per the law… Yesterday, I visited several societies in civil clothes on a private vehicle and found many people are roaming around). The person is also heard instructing security guards of housing societies to note down and report to him if anyone leaves the building in a car.
After the clip went viral, several people had expressed concern. Malad-resident Juhi Kaur, who reportedly had received the audio message, ascribed to the police commissioner, in the WhatsApp group of her housing society members, said, “We have been using our car to go to the market to get supplies. After we got the message, everyone in the building was worried. A few days later, I found that the message was fake.”
In a second 2.20-minute audio clip, a person purportedly claimed to have “personally received information” from the World Health Organisation and Chinese authorities that there would be a spike in coronavirus cases.
On Tuesday, Singh said, “There has been a problem where some audio notes, warning people to not step out of their houses and on the spread of coronavirus, have been spread in my name. We have clarified that these are fake on our Twitter account and are taking steps to identify the person.”
A few viral audio messages have also been falsely attributed to Nashik police commissioner Vishwas Nangre Patil and his Thane counterpart Vivek Phansalkar. Both the officers have clarified that the voice messages as fake. Patil claimed that news bytes of a journalist were being circulated by ascribing them to the commissioners.
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