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Thursday, June 04, 2020

Don’t pull pranks, spread April Fool’s hoaxes about coronavirus: Pune Rural Police

The order also urges WhatsApp group administrators to change the settings to make sure that only they can send messages on the group.

Written by Sushant Kulkarni | Pune | Published: March 30, 2020 11:04:26 pm
pune coronavirus, Pimpri-Chinchwad coronavirus, Pimpri-Chinchwad coronavirus cases, Pimpri-Chinchwad news Pune fire brigade carry out the sterifume process to sanitize the upper Indiranagar slum in Bibvewadi. (Express photo/Pavan Khengre)

The Pune Rural Police Monday issued a notification warning people not to spread misinformation or hoaxes about the coronavirus outbreak or even the ongoing lockdown on April Fool’s Day.

The notification has been issued by Sub-Divisional Police Officer for Baramati Narayan Shirgaonkar and is also being taken up in other jurisdictions.

The order reads, “There is a custom of April Fool’s Day when friends and family send each other messages to pull pranks on them or spread hoaxes for fun. However, at present we are going through the coronavirus pandemic and a national lockdown is in force to contain it. We want to warn people not to post any misinformation, rumour or hoax about the outbreak or the lockdown. This may not just lead to confusion in the minds of people about the disease or even mislead them to violate lockdown orders. This can potentially add burden on the government machinery. Those spreading false information or rumours — both sender and the group administrator in the case — will be prosecuted under the Bombay Police Act and Indian Penal Code Section 188 for disobeying order promulgated by a public servant.”

India coronavirus latest update, March 30

The order also urges WhatsApp group administrators to change the settings to make sure that only they can send messages on the group.

When contacted, Shirgaonkar said, “The district administration has issued orders warning against spreading of misinformation or rumours. We found it pertinent to issue these orders, especially for WhatsApp users, around the time of April Fool’s Day. We need to understand that these are extraordinary times and even a small unintentional act can cause harm. And so in the notification, we have issued instructions to group administrators in particular. We are receiving information that people are responding to this notification. We will be forced to prosecute if people resort to spreading false information about the disease or lockdown on April Fool’s Day or otherwise.”

Officials said a similar notification has also been issued by Satara district police and sub-divisional jurisdictions in some districts.

Here’s a quick Coronavirus guide from Express Explained to keep you updated: What can cause a COVID-19 patient to relapse after recovery? | COVID-19 lockdown has cleaned up the air, but this may not be good news. Here’s why | Can alternative medicine work against the coronavirus? | A five-minute test for COVID-19 has been readied, India may get it too | How India is building up defence during lockdown | Why only a fraction of those with coronavirus suffer acutely | How do healthcare workers protect themselves from getting infected? | What does it take to set up isolation wards?

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