Taking stern action against peddling fake news, police in the northeastern state of Assam have arrested legislator Aminul Islam.
The All India United Democratic Front leader had allegedly made “provocative, communal, and false” statements saying there are conspiracies underway to eliminate Muslims under the guise of COVID-19.
Assam police on Tuesday charged Aminul Islam with attempting to communalise the government’s efforts to tackle the COVID-19 crisis. The police officially arrested him after more than 12 hours of interrogation and finding sufficient evidence at his residence in Nagaon.
Despite evidence from the country’s apex medical research lab against the Islamic group Tablighi Jamaat about spreading the pandemic across the country, the legislator stated: “No one from Nizamuddin Markaz has tested positive for coronavirus. Only one person died because of some other disease", Islam had said.
In a video message, Islam had also alleged that Muslims have been targeted and tortured in various camps set up by the state government to offer quarantine facilities.
The step comes against the backdrop of rising numbers of COVID-19 cases in the state, most of them from Tablighi Jamaat (26 out of 27 in the state).
Alert ~ one more #Covid_19 positive case from Dhubri District has been confirmed, taking the total number in Assam to 27.— Himanta Biswa Sarma (@himantabiswa) April 7, 2020
This patient is related to #NizamuddinMarkaz event in Delhi.
Update at 9.25 am / April 7
The state government has now issued a warning to the people who visited the Tablighi Jamaat Markaz in Delhi's Nizamuddin and failed to self-declare. The government said that the attendees will be charged under the Disaster Management Act (DMA).
The Indian Home Ministry has been monitoring the content of these popular platforms to curb fake news during the pandemic, in which the country has already lost 114 lives. So far there are more than 4,000 active coronavirus cases in India.
Following reports of cases linked to a Tablighi Jamaat gathering, the public has started targeting Muslims for allegedly spreading COVID-19 in the country. The leader of the Hindu cultural organisation Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh has also blamed Tablighi's leadership for conducting the religious event.