A 26-year-old man was booked by the Amethi Police in Uttar Pradesh on Tuesday on charges of “spreading misleading information”, after he took to Twitter to make an appeal for an oxygen cylinder for his grandfather.
The charges include circulating a rumour “with intent to cause… fear or alarm… whereby any person may be induced to commit an offence against the State or against the public tranquility” and engaging in acts likely to spread infectious diseases, a report in The Wire stated.
In his tweet on Monday, Shashank Yadav tagged actor Sonu, imploring for help, without mentioning Covid anywhere.
His message was retweeted several times following which Union Minister Smriti Z Irani was tagged and she responded saying that she had tried to reach Shashank but to no avail.
Later on, one of Shashank’s friends who had first retweeted his message posted a tweet saying that Shashank’s grandfather had passed away.
“Thank you for reaching out to us Smriti ma’am. Appreciate it. This is to inform you, with heavy heart, that Shashank’s Nanaji is no more. For now, we can only pray for the departed soul. Thank you. Thanks to @khanumarfa ma’am also”, the tweet read.
On Monday, the Amethi District Magistrate tweeted the Amethi Chief Medical Officer’s report saying that the man in question was not suffering from COVID-19 and, in fact, had been undergoing treatment at a private hospital in Durgapur.
A case has been filed under IPC section 269 (negligent act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life), 505(1) (B) (With intent to cause, or which is likely to cause, fear or alarm to the public, or to any section of the public whereby any person may be induced to commit an offence against the State or against the public tranquillity) at the Ramganj police station. The Police have also invoked Epidemic Disease Act against Shashank.
The Wire report also states that the charges against Yadav are quite serious and could result in him facing jail time.
This development comes after UP Chief Minister Adityanath asked officials to take action against “anti-social elements” who spread “rumours” and propaganda on social media and try to “spoil the atmosphere”.