Bandra gathering: 30 social media accounts ‘spread rumours’

Mumbai: The Cyber wing of the Maharashtra Police on Wednesday identified more than 30 social media accounts, which allegedly spread rumours about train services that possibly prompted the gathering of migrants in Mumbai’s Bandra on Tuesday, a senior official said.

Within a few hours after the incident, the cyber police identified the people responsible for spreading the fake news and rumours and informed the Mumbai police about it, the official said on Wednesday.

More than 1,000 migrant workers, most of them from Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal, gathered near Bandra railway station here on Tuesday afternoon. They were demanding that the state government make transport arrangements so that they can go back to their native towns and villages.

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“We have identified more than 30 accounts on various platforms, including a news channel, responsible for spreading the rumour about the train services,” Balsing Rajput, Superintendent of Police, Maharashtra Cyber, said.

“All this has been informed to the police units concerned,” he said.

Although the lockdown has been extended to contain spread of COVID -19, the cyber criminals and anti-social elements in the society are taking advantage of the situation with the intention of creating panic and disrupting harmony, he said.

“The cyber wing is monitoring fake news and rumours spread through the various social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Tik-Tok, Instagram and others platforms round-the-clock,” he said.

At least 201 cases have been registered till Tuesday at different police stations in the state, he said, adding that the accused in all these cases were involved in spreading fake news about the COVID-19 pandemic and circulating hate messages to create enmity between two communities.

So far, 35 people have been arrested and over 114 others have been identified and will be held soon, the official said.

In one case at Kopar Khairane in neighbouring Navi Mumbai, an unidentified person uploaded an image n Instagram, which disrespected the Indian flag and the country, Rajput said, adding that a search for the accused is on.

While analysing the offences registered across the state, the cyber wing has noticed that 99 of these cases were related to sending offensive messages on WhatsApp, whereas 66 cases were about offensive posts on Facebook, he said.

At least three cases were registered for offensive videos uploaded on Tik-Tok, he said, adding 37 cases were registered for circulating fake news and videos on other social media, such as YouTube, he said.

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