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Beware, do not spread Coronavirus rumours on April Fools Day

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New Delhi, Mar 31: Authorities have warned people against spreading any rumours or playing pranks over coronavirus in the name of "April Fools Day" on social media, which could put lives at risk.

Offences would be registered against the WhatsApp group admin and the member posting such messages on the mobile messaging app, police official Meena Makwana said in a release.

File photo

"Many people play pranks on their friends and relatives on April 1. Citizens have been asked not to play such pranks over coronavirus. Such messages may create confusion," Aurangabad police said.

Making an appeal to the people of Maharashtra on the eve of April Fool's Day, state Home Minister Anil Deshmukh announced, "If any rumour is spread on April 1 to fool people on April Fool's Day, action will be taken against them by filing a case under Cyber Crime."

"Tomorrow is April 1... On this day, people have a tendency to send jokes, pranks or messages to fool each other and enjoy but today, the entire state and the country is grappling with coronavirus," Deshmukh said in a video appeal.

Former Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje tweeted: "Tomorrow is April 1 and I've come across some April Fool's Day messages and posts on social media/WhatsApp related to Covid-19. I urge you to say no to such jokes and messages. Don't spread rumours. It could be disastrous. Be safe. Be responsible."

Fake news biggest hindrance in the fight against coronavirus, Home Ministry tells SC

DCP South Delhi tweeted: "Please Note: Strict legal action will be taken against any attempt to spread rumours on social media in the guise of April Fools Day."

In its latest directive, the Ministry of Home Affairs has warned that FIR will be filed against those spreading misinformation about COVID-19 in the country.

"Rumours are being spread about COVID-19 in the country leading to misinformation. FIR will be registered against those involved in spreading of these rumours and strict action will be taken under provisions of the Disaster Management Act," says Ajay Bhalla, Union Home Secretary.

Since the outbreak of the coronavirus in India, fake news is spreading fast on WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms with numerous false claims, including about an impending emergency declaration and an extension of the lockdown period.

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