Monday, 30th October 2017

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Administration, cops gear up against coronavirus in Assam

Police take safety steps

By Pranjal Baruah in Guwahati
  • Published 21.03.20, 12:54 AM
  • Updated 21.03.20, 12:54 AM
  • 2 mins read
A woman uses a thermal screening device on a devotee before Friday namaz at a mosque in Guwahati. Picture by UB Photos

“Challan katne se maza nai aata dost, aapke sahi salamati se aata hai... (Friends! There is no fun in taking fines, but in your safety),” the Assam police department tweeted on Friday, leaving no stone unturned to keep the public and police personnel away from coronavirus.

Not only from the virus, the state police have also been working hard to keep the people away from rumours and misleading information shared on social media. They have been working in tandem with special fact-checking teams working for Facebook which, thereby, also monitor WhatsApp.

Manjori Borkotoky, a city-based Facebook fact-checker, told The Telegraph, “A lot of misinformation is floating on the net regarding coronavirus, primarily on lockdown, finding of positive coronavirus cases in the state, and food and medicine that can cure the disease. Most of the fake messages pertain to false information that more persons in the state have tested positive for coronavirus.”

Though Assam police have not yet registered any case against any such post, sources said local police have consulted many account holders who posted such content online and asked them to delete the post.

“According to Facebook norms, fact-checking teams either drop such content or publish the real story link next to the post to educate the viewers,” an official of Assam police cyber patrolling team said.

However, police sources said, more than Facebook posts, WhatsApp forwards were difficult to check as they were personal and encrypted.

The police have also taken their effort to the community level. In Charaideo district, they have been conducting awareness drives, led by superintendent of police Anand Mishra who has been patrolling and discouraging the people from mass gathering.

The police have also instructed its traffic personnel to take utmost care against the virus and distributed masks and hand sanitizers among them.

Deputy commissioner of police (traffic) Ranjan Bhuyan said, “The traffic department has also withdrawn the use of breath analyzers temporarily. Persons found drink driving are immediately taken to the nearest hospital for a blood test to verify the alcohol content.”

The district transport officer (DTO) here has stopped driving tests for licence till March 31 except for those learner licences which would expire during the period.

Dhemaji police have opened a WhatsApp number for natives returning to the district.

“Let’s welcome our Dhemaji boys n girls coming home from Kerala and other states. No need to panic. But for safety, let them take rest in a separate room. Consult Doctors; tell us on Dhemaji Police WhatsApp no 8876444415,” tweeted Dhemaji police.