Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Saturday warned people against circulating “inflammatory content” about the coronavirus pandemic and said that the “virus” of fake news and communal hatred is threatening social harmony.
“Like Coronavirus, there is another virus that is emerging which is threatening social harmony, the virus of fake news and communal hatred,” Thackeray wrote on Twitter. “If someone circulates fake news or inflammatory content, my law will catch up with them. They will not be spared.”
We will save Maharashtra from this crisis. But, if someone circulates fake news or videos like commodities or notes being smeared with saliva or with inflammatory content, my law will catch up with them. They will not be spared. Dont do this even for fun.— CMO Maharashtra (@CMOMaharashtra) April 4, 2020
Thackeray added that his government has located people from the state who attended the Tablighi Jamaat congregation in Delhi – the source of more than a 1,000 coronavirus cases across 17 states – and placed them under quarantine. “The names of those who attended the Delhi event are in our records and all the participants have been traced,” he said. “They have been isolated and quarantined in government facilities.”
Thackeray said that unlike Delhi, Maharashtra had assessed the risk of infection and denied permission for the Tablighi Jamaat event. “We didn’t let what happened in Delhi happen in Maharashtra,” he said, according to Hindustan Times. “The event was permitted earlier, but later looking at the situation we denied permission.”
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With more than 500 cases of coronavirus, Maharashtra is the worst-affected state in the country. Thackeray said that the government may extend the 21-day lockdown in the state depending on how well people follow orders.
The health ministry on Saturday said that the number of coronavirus cases in India rose to 2,902, with 68 deaths. Of these, 2,650 Covid-19 cases are still active. It added that more than 1,000 cases are linked to last month’s Tablighi Jamaat event in Delhi. Around 22,000 Tablighi Jamaat workers and their contacts have been placed under quarantine.