No arrests have been made yet, but the tracking of messages is going on.
Mumbai: The Mumbai police is trying to track down the perpetrators who circulated fake messages on Wednesday, spreading panic amongst Mumbaikars when heavy rains were lashing the city. No arrests have been made yet, but the tracking of messages is going on.
Thanks to the rumours, thousands of panicked Mumbaikars had flooded the control rooms of the Disaster Management Cell of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and Police Control Room with phone calls.
The police probe began after the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) commissioner Ajoy Mehta wrote a letter on Wednesday to the joint commissioner of police (Law and Order) Deven Bharti, seeking action against those spreading panic. As a result of the hoax messages, the BMC and the Mumbai police had to constantly post updates on their respective Twitter handles, appealing to Mumbaikars not to believe the rumours and to stop forwarding such messages without any confirmation.
The BMC’s Disaster Management Cell had also flashed alerts on various news channels to battle the confusion.
Mumbai police spokesperson Rashmi Karandikar confirmed the probe and said, “The perpetrators will be caught soon, and this should be taken as a warning for the citizens who blindly forward such messages without checking their authenticity.”
Following this scenario, on Wednesday, BMC commissioner Ajoy Mehta also issued a letter to Mumbai police’s joint commissioner of police (Law and Order) Deven Bharti stating that action should be taken against the persons who spread baseless rumours over text messages, WhatsApp and Twitter.
In his letter, Mr Mehta demanded that legal action be initiated against the persons spreading rumours, and they be punished under various sections of the Disaster Management Act 2005.
Some of the fake messages that were doing the rounds included, “SV Road closed from Santacruz to Bandra”, “Bandra-Worli Sealink closed as cyclone likely to hit Mumbai at 3 pm”.