Rumours regarding coronavirus through various mediums, especially the social media platforms, have become a serious cause of concern amid the lockdown. Several instances in the last few days have been linked to the spread of rumours related to COVID-19. According to a report in The Indian Express, at least three incidents of attacks on individuals of a family in Delhi and Gurugram over the weekend have been found to be linked to coronavirus related rumours.
As per the IE report, three separate incidents of violence have been a result of rumours. While a youth who returned from a Tablighi Jamaat congregation was beaten in Outer Delhi’s Harewali village, a family was attacked in Gurugram for making a video of Sunday's 9 pm event, and four men opened fire outside a mosque in Gurgaon's Dhankot village.
In the first case, a 22-year-old man who returned from Bhopal after attending a Tablighi Jamaat event was beaten up by locals on Sunday in Outer Delhi's Harewali village. The video of the incident showed a mob beating the youth and accusing him of being a part of a conspiracy to spread coronavirus. The victim has been identified as Dilshad Ali. Police said that an FIR has been filed and three men have been arrested in connection with the case. The three arrested men have been identified as Naveen Kumar (30), Prashant Kumar (26) and Pramod Kumar (30).
Police said an FIR has also been filed against Ali for allegedly violating CrPC Section 144. According to Ali’s uncle Chaudhary Akram, the youth was supposed to return from Bhopal on April 4. But he got stuck due to the lockdown. "He (Ali) and nine others returned in a truck on Sunday afternoon. In Northwest Delhi, he was caught by police, but was let go after a medical examination," he said.
He added that locals asked Ali to accompany them for some work as soon as he reached. "They took him to an isolated spot and started beating him. His father came to know through neighbours," Akram said.
In the second incident reported from Gurugram, a family was attacked after a crowd objected to one of the members recording a video of Sunday's 9 pm 'diya jalao' event. The incident took place in Manohar Colony when Aatif Warsi, 20, and his family were recording a video of a procession. Warsi was standing in his balcony when 20-25 men took out a procession, flashing phone torches. When they noticed Warsi and his brothers, they told them to stop recording videos.
Some from the group allegedly headed to his second-storey home and abused the family members and asked to leave the neighbourhood. Warsi said some went to the terrace of a building next to his home and then jumped over the balcony and "entered our home". "They attacked me and my cousin with a brick," he said.
Warsi's father Aslam called the police for help. Police PRO Subhash Boken said six men were arrested on Monday in connection with the case. They have been identified as Deepak Kumar, Ramesh Kumar, Ramsingh, Suraj Prakash, Rajendra Kumar and Mahesh Kumar. "The accused have confessed," Boken said.
In the third incident reported from Dhankot village in Gurugram, police arrested four people on Monday, a day after shots were fired outside a mosque. Police said that the arrested men claimed during interrogation that they wanted to "check if anyone infected with the coronavirus was hiding inside".
They have been identified as Vinod, Harkesh, Pawan, and Aalam Khan. "The four were talking about coronavirus on Saturday and about the people evacuated from Markaz Nizamuddin," Boken said. The official said a few days ago, they also heard on social media that six people were found at the mosque in Dhankot and therefore they decided to go and check. Boken, however, said no such incident had been reported from the mosque.