Two men have been arrested in Sodepur and Baranagar on the city’s northern outskirts on charges of circulating a fake message of curfew during Durga Puja on social media, police said.
Raju Biswas from Ghola in Sodepur and Prabhujit Acharya from Baranagar have been booked under Section 505 (1) of the IPC and under various sections of the IT act.
Section 505 (1) of the IPC deals with making, publishing or circulating any statement, rumour or report that may cause fear or alarm the public.
The two arrests came within hours of chief minister Mamata Banerjee directing the police to find out who was responsible for spreading such false messages.
“Fake WhatsApp messages are doing the rounds saying visitors to pandals will not be allowed to move around at night. There has been no meeting yet with Puja organisers. How can someone say like this?” Mamata had said on Tuesday. “First, prove that the government has issued such orders. Or they should be made to box their ears and do 100 squats.”
The message that made rounds claimed that the Bengal government had decided there will be curfew between 5pm and 4am from Panchami to Ekadashi, a day after the Puja is over.
The message went on to specify a long list of dos and don’ts for the puja this year, including that more than five people would not be allowed inside a pandal.
The state police promptly identified the message and termed it “fake” on its twitter handle before sharing it with the city police.
“A rumour regarding Durga Puja is being spread through WhatsApp. No such decision has been taken. Please do not forward this message. It’s fake. Action is being taken,” the police said on its Twitter handle.
On Wednesday, a team of officers started tracking the IP addresses from where the post had first come into circulation and traced them to Biswas and Acharya.
“We are checking the antecedence of the accused,” an officer of the Barrackpore commissionerate said.