Aizawl: At least 15 people, a majority of them being women, have been arrested for spreading fake news about coronavirus aka COVID-19 in Mizoram, a senior police officer said on Wednesday.
Inspector general of police (IGP) LH Shanliana told reporters that at least three cases have been registered on fake news related to coronavirus pandemic since February 9.
He said that the fake news were widely circulated on messaging apps such as WhatsApp and social sites like Facebook creating panic among the public.
He said that 15 people have been arrested in this connection between March 10 and 13 and were booked under Section 505 (1) (b) of the IPC.
According to the police officer, a fake circular appealing the Mizos who live outside the state to come home immediately, was circulated on Tuesday night as being issued by the state chief secretary.
The circular, which claimed that it was based on a Union home ministry’s directive, also warned that those who could not return within the stipulated time will be declared as non-Mizo, he said.
He said that they have identified the person who originated the fake circular and will soon be arrested.
Following the outbreak of coronavirus, rumours have been spreading quite a number of times in Mizoram.
Shanliana cautioned people against fake news as it is a punishable crime. He also said the state police are making massive effort to maintain law and order.
According to the IGP, at least 42 entry points along the inter-state and international borders have been closed to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
He said that a total of 273 policemen were deployed in six entry points along the inter-state and international borders.
They were assisted by Border Security Force (BSF), Assam Rifles and NGOs, he said.
Shanliana also said that entry points for Myanmar were opened at Zokhawthar, Kawrpuichhuah for Bangladesh, Kanhmun for Tripura and Khawkawn for Manipur.
The Mizoram-Assam border was opened at Vairengte and Bairabi under strict vigilance, he added.