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Maharashtra Police Has Registered 852 Cases Against Misinformation and Hate Speech Since 2020


Maharashtra Police Has Registered 852 Cases Against Misinformation and Hate Speech Since 2020
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The coronavirus pandemic has brought about a dramatic rise in misinformation on the internet. One such instance came to light just after Mumbai Police Commissioner, Hemant Nagrale announced that health and essential service vehicles will get colour-coded stickers to allow easy movement during the pandemic-related restrictions.

Shortly after the announcement, rumours about petrol pumps only allowing citizens with the said stickers started making the rounds. Though Mumbai Police was quick to dispel this rumour through its social media accounts, the message had already been widely circulated.

Also readMumbai Police Issues 'Colour Codes' To Allow Movement Of Selected Vehicles During The Curfew

Maharashtra Police has now revealed that it has filed a total of 852 cases against propagators of misinformation since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic last year. “All these agencies coordinated with each other and pulled down thousands of objectionable content and registered 852 offences in almost one year. Of these, 786 offences were cognisable in nature, while the rest were non-cognisable. Around 455 cases were of hate speeches,” a senior police officer was quoted as saying. 

The official elaborated that 308 of these cases were pertaining to misleading info on WhatsApp, 338 on Facebook, 28 on TikTok (which has been banned since late last year), 25 on Twitter, and 27 on Instagram. While around 680 of the accused have been identified, the police have arrested 342 people across the state. 

Further, 152 of them were served a notice under Section 41 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), while 145 of the accused have been booked under Section 107 of the CrPC. 

ReadMumbai Police Reactivates Its Covid Care Centres Amid Rising Cases In The Department

COVID-19 related misinformation, including videos, was found to be spreading rapidly, even from outside India. Manipulated images of crematoriums, hospitals, as well as random false information about the virus were also spotted. Some were also seen to be spreading forged and/or edited copies of regional government orders pertaining to health guidelines. 

“As there was a buzz over Kumbh Mela gathering on social media recently and also ongoing Ramzan month, there is an obvious rise in hate speeches and increase in penetration of communally sensitive information on the internet, but we are keeping an effective check on such contents online and pulling them down before they make it to masses,” Sanjay Shintre, Superintendent of Police, State Cyber Police said.

Also readMaharashtra Cyber Says More Than 7,000 Posts Flagged As Fake News, Hate Speech Since March 2020

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