Forged notice spread panic in Mukherjee Nagar

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Published on Dec 26, 2019 12:07 AM IST
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ByHT Correspondent, New Delhi

A “police notice” and a video, which the police triggered panic and confusion among students and residents of Mukherjee Nagar on Wednesday.

The notice and video had police purportedly ordering the shutdown of coaching institutes and closure of paying guest (PG) accommodation facilities till January 2. It was circulated widely on social media. On Wednesday, police reached out to students and residents clarifying that they had not issued any such order.

In the video, a man, wearing what appeared to be police uniform, was purportedly telling a group of people to leave the capital or face police action if they participated in any protest or procession. The man was purportedly telling them that in addition to a “critical law and order situation”, section 144 of the criminal procedure code (prohibitory orders) had imposed in the capital and “severe action would be taken against those spreading nuisance in the capital.”

Deputy commissioner of police (northwest) Vijayanta Arya posted a message on Twitter, urging people not to believe such videos and messages. She said that a case has been registered in the matter.

Delhi has seen a series of violent protests over the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the possibility of a pan-India National Register of Citizens. The protests, which began from Jamia Millia Islamia, intensified after police assaulted the university students and spread to different parts of the capital. The protests had received support from most sections of students and youngsters.

On Wednesday, a common sight in Mukherjee Nagar were the closed coaching centres and students hurriedly moving with bags and luggage around metro stations and bus stops. Some centres displayed a notice saying they were closed as per orders of Delhi Police. While there seemed to be little clarity over the veracity of the video or the circular, most stakeholders did not want to take a chance.

Rajpal Singh Pawar, who runs a PG for girls in the area, said he had also received a call from cops asking them to shut down the PGs. “I was not provided with a written confirmation so there was little clarity on the matter. However, today I got a call saying we did not have to shut the PGs.”

Rimpi Jakar, an SSC aspirant, was heading back from her sister’s place in Badarpur after her friend reached out to her. “My friend from our PG, who is preparing for civil services, was worried after the rumours spread. We could not get any confirmation. The owners too had little clarity. It will be difficult for us to get tickets at the last moment if this turned out to be true,” she said, before hurrying away.

Ashwani Rai, who runs a civil services coaching centre in the area, said he was approached by police personnel asking them to shut down coaching centres between December 25-January 2. “Police had always asked us to be cautious. Last year too, we had closed our centre between December 31 to January 2 for New Year,” he said.

On Wednesday, students also took to social media to allege that PG owners had stopped providing food and was asking them to leave despite non-availability of tickets. Swaraj Abhiyaan national president Yogendra Yadav also asked the Delhi Police to issue clarification to students in the area to assure them.

Govind Mishra, a member of Yuva Halla Bol movement, had posted the video on Twitter late Tuesday night saying police was asking students to leave. The SSC aspirant from Gorakhpur, however, said he had not shot the video.

“We received the video through someone who is not willing to share how they received the video. But, throughout Wednesday, we spoke to several students and they confirmed that coaching centres had been closed. PGs and hostels have also been asked to close. Many could not leave because they did not have tickets.”

About the allegations that policemen asked PG and coaching institute owners to close, DCP Arya said, “No such instructions were issued from our (police) side. If people have any evidence, (footage or any video) to prove the allegations, they came come to my office and lodge complaints. Whosoever is involved in spreading such rumours will face action as per law.”

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