A man in Tamil Nadu's Cuddalore district was arrested on Wednesday for spreading rumours that coronavirus spread through chickens. The 18-year-old man from Neyveli had reportedly acted out of vengeance for having been refused free meat at his friend's shop. The district police held the man and clarified in a video message that the rumour was, in fact, false.
According to a report in The New Indian Express, the 18-year-old would often get chicken meat for free at his friend's meat shop in Super Bazaar, Neyveli. However, recently, he was denied free meat by his friend, Fakrudeen Ali Ahamed. According to the newspaper, the man crafted a false message, stating that he had to take his friend to the Neyveli Lignite Corporation hospital after he fell ill. The message claimed that he and his friend had purchased the meat at the meat shop they frequent called Sahana chicken centre in Super Bazaar.
The fake message also said that the Cuddalore Government General Hospital was of little help, following which the 'patient' was taken to the Puducherry Government General Hospital.
After he posted the WhatsApp message on Tuesday, the fake news went viral. Police arrested the man on Wednesday. Following his arrest, the police made a video with the man, clarifying that the deadly disease does not spread through chicken.
He was booked under Indian Penal Code Section 505 (2) (statements conducing to public mischief) and Information Technology Act Section 67 (punishment for publishing or transmitting obscene material in electronic form).
Recently, it was reported that the sale of chicken in India came down, thanks to the spread of social media rumours about a false link between chicken and coronavirus. According to PTI, the sale of chicken has come down by 50% over the last month while the price of chicken has tanked by 70%. Medical professionals have clarified that the virus, which has taken hundreds of lives in China where it originated and across the globe, does not spread from chickens.