The development comes in the midst of criticism the Uddhav Thackeray government is facing over the poor handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Bharatiya Janata Party has slammed the Maha Vikas Aghadi government in Maharashtra for its gag order. Commenting on the prohibitory order issued by DCP Pranaya Ashok of Greater Mumbai, BJP’s Mumbai unit spokesperson Suresh Nakhua said that the emergency was in the DNA of Congress. The Congress is a constituent of the MVA government led by Shiv Sena.
“Emergency is in the DNA of Congress and its allies. Gag order issued in Maharashtra,” Nakhua tweeted along with the copy of the order.
The order was issued under Section 144 of CrPC 1973 by the Commissioner of Police, Greater Mumbai. It said that there is widespread fake news, incorrect information, misinformation, and other such objectionable content in the form of messages, videos, images and memes, audio clips over internet messaging and social media platforms.
“Such type of content has been found to have caused panic, confusion among the general public, inciting mistrust towards government functionaries and their actions taken to control COVID-19 pandemic and also to have created animosity towards various communities,” the order undersigned by Pranaya Ashok, DCP (Operations) and Executive Magistrate, Greater Mumbai, said.
Emergency is in DNA of Congress and it’s allies.
Gag order issued in Maharashtra. pic.twitter.com/kx7QdURFzC
— Suresh Nakhua ???????? ( सुरेश नाखुआ ) (@SureshNakhua) May 25, 2020
It said that dissemination of such information in any form can lead to a law and order situation and that there is a danger to human health or safety or a disturbance of the public tranquility. The order restricts any dissemination of information through various messaging and social media platforms which is found to be incorrect, causing panic and confusion, inciting mistrusts towards government functionaries and their actions taken in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
It said all persons designated as ‘Admin’ on messaging and social media platforms personally responsible for any such information being disseminated from a group administered by them. “It shall be the personal responsibility of all persons designated as ‘Admin’ on messaging and social media platforms to report such malicious, incorrect or derogatory content posted by a member of the group to police immediately,” it said.
The gag order comes into effect from today and will remain in place till June 8. “Any person contravening this order shall be punishable under Section 188 of the IPC,” it said.
The development comes in the midst of criticism the Uddhav Thackeray government is facing over the poor handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Maharashtra accounts for more than 30% of the country’s cases. According to the Health Ministry data, of the 1,38,845 cases, more than 50,000 are from the state. Of the total 4,021 fatalities, Maharashtra tops tally with 1,635 deaths.