Punjab police book MLA for misleading people on COVID-19 pandemic; launch crackdown on rumour mongers

MLA from Ludhiana, Simarjit Singh Bains was booked on Monday for allegedly spreading false propaganda to mislead people on the COVID-19 pandemic

MLA Simarjit Singh Bainst (Photo courtesy: Twitter/@punjabkesari
MLA Simarjit Singh Bainst (Photo courtesy: Twitter/@punjabkesari

Bipin Bhardwaj

Coming down heavily on rumour mongers spreading false propaganda to mislead the people on the COVID-19 pandemic, the Punjab government on Monday booked a Ludhiana-based MLA and launched a major crackdown on others, including web channels.

Founder of Lok Insaf Party (LIP) and Member of Legislative Assembly from Ludhiana, Simarjit Singh Bains has been booked for allegedly spreading false propaganda to mislead the people on the COVID-19 pandemic on a complaint by Civil Surgeon, Ludhiana on Monday. A case under Section 54 of the Disaster Management Act, Epidemics Act, 2005, Section 3 of Epidemic Disease Act, 1897 and under Section 188 and 505 of the IPC was booked against him in Ludhiana.

The Civil Surgeon in his complaint has also requested legal action against Simarjit Singh Bains for misguiding people through a video clip regarding COVID-19. The Civil Surgeon said that this video clip is being played on various social media platforms, thus leading to the creation of an atmosphere of confusion among the public regarding COVID-19. Bains was also inciting people not to wear face masks, the complaint reads.

In his legal opinion, as sought by the Ludhiana Police, District Attorney (DA), Ludhiana, has noted that Simarjit Singh Bains was giving statements with regard to severity and magnitude of COVID-19 pandemic caused by Novel Coronavirus. Bains has been claiming that the Coronavirus is a bogey created by the government to perpetuate their power by misleading people and asked them not to wear masks, the DA further opined.

The DA mentioned that even though Simarjit Singh Bains is an elected MLA, who represents a section of citizens of Ludhiana, he was misleading people by forbidding them to wear face masks, which have been made compulsory by the Central government to protect the health and safety of the citizens of the country.

The DA, in his opinion, pointed out that Bains was thus wilfully endangering the health and safety of the people living in the state by exhorting and provoking them to violate the directions, norms and guidelines laid down by the Central and the state governments under the Disaster Management Act, Epidemics Act etc. Even the WHO has advised wearing of face masks, he further noted.

Meanwhile, tightening the noose around those spreading false propaganda about COVID-19, Punjab Chief Minister Capt. Amarinder Singh has directed the DGP to crackdown on all rumour mongers and web channels spreading misinformation among the people about the pandemic. He also asked DGP Dinkar Gupta to monitor statements being issued by anti-India operators working from abroad and to register cases against all such people, wherever they might be located, who are found spreading rumours on social media and web channels. The Chief Minister directed the DGP to initiate the process of getting these entities banned in India.

The directives came even as the Punjab Police continued to register cases against rumour mongers across the state. The DGP informed the COVID review virtual meeting chaired by the Chief Minister that eight FIRs have been registered over the past 10 days against those spreading rumours and floating/circulating false and misleading videos that are hampering the people fight against Coronavirus, and also preventing the people from availing of proper medical treatment at public and private health facilities.

The FIRs, including the one filed today against LIP leader Simarjit Singh Bains, have been registered in Patiala, Ferozepur, Mansa, SAS Nagar, Ludhiana-Rural, Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Moga. Criminal cases have also been registered in Ludhiana and Phagwara (Kapurthala) against people holding parties despite the government’s prohibitory orders against all such gatherings, an official spokesperson of the state government informed.

Follow us on: Facebook, Twitter, Google News, Instagram 

Join our official telegram channel (@nationalherald) and stay updated with the latest headlines