A Youth Congress worker from Malappuram who released a fake WhatsApp voice message claiming that a special train for migrant workers will leave from Malappuramâ€™s Nilambur station on Monday, has been arrested by the police.
The accused has been identified as Ali Shakeer (32), a Youth Congress worker and former mandal secretary from Edvanna. He has been booked by the Edavanna police on Sunday night.
Malappuram Collector Jafar Malik took to Facebook to state that the person has now been booked by the district police.
â€śA case has been registered against a person for spreading fake news that on Monday night a train will be arranged for inter state migrants to go to their homes. It is totally baseless and fake. Strict action will be taken against the persons forwarding such news,â€ť he wrote on Facebook. He has been booked under section 153 of the Indian Penal Code (Wantonly giving provocation with intent to cause riot) and section 118 (e) of the Kerala Police Act (knowingly does any act which causes danger to public or failure in public safety)
So far, only Ali has been booked by the police. However, authorities are investigating the possibility of a conspiracy and involvement of more people in the case. According to Aliâ€™s statement to the police, he had shared the voice note on the instructions of another person who had spoken to him and asked him to do the same via a phone call.
The Malappuram district police chief has also been assigned to probe the matter further.
The voice message was released on Sunday, hours after news broke that thousands of migrant workers in Kottayam violated the 21-day lockdown to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus and took to the streets to protest.
The workers, who were put up in relief camps at Paippad in Changanassery, Kottayam, took to the streets, demanding that they are allowed to go back to their home state and that they be provided with vehicles for the same.
While many maintained that food and water had been provided to them, a few alleged they had been managing with their own money and were unable to carry on anymore.
"We are getting food, but we want to go home. We are mainly from West Bengal, we want to go to Malda," one man told the media.
Others stated that their families back in Bengal were also awaiting their return.