A 24-year-old man has been arrested for allegedly spreading rumours about a riot in west Delhi's Nihal Vihar, the police said on Monday. The cyber crime cell traced him to his home. The accused, Abhishek Shukla, has over 10,000 followers on several social media handles and he allegedly used them to spread the rumours.
The police said his mobile phone has been found. They said he posted the content from his profiles.
Twenty-two others have been arrested for allegedly spreading rumours on Sunday about violence erupting in parts of southeast or west Delhi which were promptly shut down by police.
Panic-stricken residents shut themselves inside homes; the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation had also shut down gates of some stations which were later reopened. The rumours surfaced on social media days after four-days of relentless violence that claimed the lives of 46 people and left hundreds injured in Delhi's northeast.
A whopping 1880 panic-stricken calls were made to the Delhi Police on Sunday evening. Most calls came in from West and southeast Delhi while, interestingly, only 2 calls were made from northeast Delhi.
Delhi police said they were closely monitoring the situation and taking action against the social media accounts spreading rumours.
Some unsubstantiated reports of tense situation in SouthEast & West District are being circulated on social media. It is to reiterate that these are all rumours. Don't pay attention to such rumours. Delhi Police is closely monitoring accounts spreading rumours and taking action.— Delhi Police (@DelhiPolice) March 1, 2020
AAP MLA Atishi had also shut down reports of mobs in some parts of south Delhi.
"Have received WhatsApp messages about mobs in Govindpuri and Kalkaji. These rumours are all false. Situation is peaceful. Police are patrolling the area," she said.
46 people died and more than 200 people were injured in the four-day flare-up as armed men went on a looting, burning and thrashing spree in Delhi's northeast.
Two Special Investigative Teams (SITs) have been constituted under Crime Branch, Delhi Police to probe the violence.