82 arrested in Bihar for trying to spread communal disharmony through social media
Most were arrested when they tried to defame people of a certain community by exchanging baseless and inflammatory messages through social media, including WhatsApp and Facebook, said sources.Updated: Apr 28, 2020 16:48 IST
Around 82 people have been arrested in Bihar for spreading communal disharmony through rumours, malicious and defamatory messages on social media relating the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), officials said on Tuesday.
Most were arrested when they tried to defame people of a certain community by exchanging baseless and inflammatory messages through social media, including WhatsApp and Facebook, said sources.
Police have also lodged 153 cases in the last one month since the first Covid-19 case was reported on March 22 in the state, officials added.
“All the 153 cases have been lodged under different sections, including the information technology (IT) act, the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the disaster management act,” said Jitendra Kumar, Bihar’s additional director general of police (headquarters).
The number of cases had gone up from 104 on April 20 to 153 on Tuesday, he said.
“The Muzaffarpur and Shahabad range of deputy inspectors general of police account for 17 such cases each, followed by Saran, which reported 13 cases till April 20,” said Kumar.
The police also arrested some who tried to spread misconceptions about the ongoing nationwide lockdown restrictions, which were initially imposed for 21 days on March 25 and extended on April 15 for another 19 days till May 3, to contain the spread of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak.
For instance, in Katihar, the police had arrested an individual running a portal for propagating a fake video about a Covid-19 patient moving around unattended in a government facility, said sources.
In Bhojpur, police had lodged cases against those who shared inflammatory WhatsApp photographs, including some who commented branding members of a particular community as carriers of the virus, the source added.
Those fanning baseless messages about the Tablighi Jamaat through social media had also been punished, the source said.
Police had also acted firmly against those trying to portray women in poor light.
“It’s our fervent appeal to the people to be wary of messages circulating on social media. They should not forward them without proper verification. We take them very seriously,” Kumar said sounding a note of caution.