Coronavirus: FIR to be registered against those spreading rumours, says MHA
New Delhi, Mar 31: A wave of misinformation and rumours on COVID-19 has sparked fear among people in India, forcing the authorities to take strict action against the violaters. 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.
While official agencies and several private fact-checkers kept on promptly debunking the fake news, the full-hoaxes and half-truths continued unabated, including by some fraudsters trying to mint some easy money by circulating fake bank account details for contributions to the government relief funds.
The Indian Army also debunked fake news about an impending emergency declaration in April.
'Fake and malicious messages are circulating on social media about likely declaration of emergency in mid April and employment of Indian Army, Veterans, NCC and NSS to assist the civil administration. It is clarified that this is absolutely fake,' the Army's Additional Directorate General of Public Information tweeted.
Earlier, the Government had rubbished reports that the lockdown in India would be extended beyond 21 days.
Referring to a report that the Modi government would extend the lockdown beyond 21 days, Prasar Bharti News Services said that report is fake. We got in touch with the Cabinet Secretary on this news article. The Cabinet Secretary expressed surprise and said that there is no such plan to extend the lockdown.