Kendrapara/Kalahandi: Several persons were arrested on the charges of spreading misinformation and misleading messages on social media regarding coronavirus in different places of Odisha.
As per reports, four persons were arrested in Kendrapara on the charge of posting a false and misleading message in social media regarding COVID-19. The accused persons were arrested after the posted messages were found to be false and misleading, a police official said.
The action against the rumour-mongers was in conformity with the guidelines framed for taking steps against people who spread false information about the deadly disease, he said.
They were remanded to judicial custody for two weeks under Indian Penal Code section-188 (Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant), 500 (Punishment for defamation), 501 (Printing or engraving matter known to be defamatory), 34 (common criminal intent) and section 66 of Information Technology Act, 2006, police said.
Similarly, a school teacher of Dudakela Primary School in Golamunda block of Kalahandi district was arrested on charges of spreading misinformation on social media about the spread of Coronavirus in some labourers who had come to work in the area from outside Odisha.
In a similar case, earlier on Friday, Rayagada Police had arrested a man on charges of spreading fake news regarding the outbreak of COVID-19 in the district. The accused Satyanarayan Samal (32), a native of Kandhamal district, was arrested from Ambadola village in Rayagada district.
Senior police officials informed that Samal had shared a post on his Facebook account stating coronavirus has reached Rayagada. “A person who arrived from Kerala was infected with coronavirus and admitted to Rayagada district headquarters hospital,” his post mentioned.
During verification, the news shared by Samal turned out to be fake. “We got information that news regarding coronavirus outbreak is getting viral on social media. During verification, we found it to be false and arrested one person for creating panic by spreading false news,” said Rayagada SP, Saravana Vivek M.
A youth of Balanda area in Angul district was on Wednesday arrested for spreading rumours over Coronavirus through his social media account. The accused posted a message saying that a youth in Banarpal area got infected by COVID19 while another youth succumbed in New Delhi, informed Central range IG Narasingha Bhol.
Odisha had on March 13 last declared novel coronavirus as a state disaster and had advised the people not to panic. A fund of Rs 200cr earmarked to augment public health response Fund to fight the viral menace.
A strict vigil is being maintained at Biju Patnaik International Airport in Bhubaneswar for screening of passengers.
“32 samples have been sent for testing out of which 31 have tested negative for Coronavirus in the State. The lone positive person’s health condition is stable,” informed Odisha government’s spokesperson on Coronavirus outbreak, Subroto Bagchi.
Bagchi further stated, “Till the recent reports, 1239 persons have registered themselves on the COVID-19 portal for self-quarantine, while 554 have registered through the call centre and 685 have registered on the portal.”
To curb the spread of novel Coronavirus in the State, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Monday appealed people coming to the State from abroad to register themselves through toll-free number (104) or online portal www.covid19.odisha.gov.in and informed that the regulation will remain in force till April 15 instead of March 31 as declared earlier.
Besides, all schools, cinema halls, pools, gyms and other public places like Planetariums across Odisha will remain shut till April 15 instead of March 31 as declared earlier, as a precautionary measure. Nandankanan Zoological Park will also remain closed.
Meanwhile, the authorities of various districts across the State escalated measures to contain the spread of Coronavirus.
Puri district administration on Monday had clamped Section 144 at Chandrabhaga and Puri sea beaches. Section 144 has also been imposed in Paradip town in Sea Beach and Nehru Bungalow areas. While Section 144 was clamped in Bhadrak, Jajpur, Jagatsinghpur, Kandhamal, Mayurbhanj and Gajapati districts to prevent public gathering and organising of socio-cultural events in the wake of Coronavirus outbreak.
The Odisha government today asked its officials not to invoke section 144 and use it as a tool to enforce social distancing as it is the most effective tool in the hands of authorities to curb the spread of Coronavirus.
The state has so far registered one COVID-19 positive case.