Caution Sounded against Fake Social Media Profiles and Illegal Collection of money for COVID-19 relief

Port Blair, June 23: The Government of India has issued various guidelines on effective measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.  The Andaman and Nicobar Administration has also envisaged and promulgated several measures in the Islands and the District Administration, South Andaman has effectively implemented all protocols in the District of South Andaman to contain the spread of the pandemic.

But it has been noticed that deceptive, erroneous, unauthentic and misleading reports against the steps taken by the Andaman and Nicobar Administration for containing the COVID-19 pandemic is being circulated by unscrupulous elements in the social media by using fake accounts/twitter handles, causing unnecessary fear and spreading false alarm amongst the general public. Such deceptive misinformation at this crucial juncture can have devastating effect thereby developing fear psychosis among public in large.

It has also been alleged that many non-registered associations/NGOs, Facebook groups as well as self-appointed volunteers are collecting monetary benefits in the name of COVID relief by citing the plight of financially backward sections and labourers. There are suspected online campaigns to mobilize funds for financially backward sections affected by the lockdown. Most of these are solicited by registered or unregistered organizations/media/individuals or entities without any credentials which is in violation of the Disaster Management Act, 2005.

All such unscrupulous elements are hereby warned that whoever makes or circulates a false alarm or warning as to disaster or its severity or magnitude, leading to panic, or which is likely to cause, fear or alarm to the public, or to any section of the public whereby any person may be induced to commit an offence against the State or against the public tranquility shall liable to be punished as per relevant sections of Information Technology Act, Disaster Management Act, Indian Penal Code or other applicable laws.

Urging the public to remain alert, the District Magistrate, South Andaman, Mr. Suneel Anchipaka, IAS has cautioned that those who are willing to distribute relief materials should voluntarily do the same instead of collecting monetary benefits in the name of COVID relief by citing the plight of financially backward sections and labourers.

Taking serious note of complaints, alleging illegal collection of relief funds in the name of Covid-19 pandemic by certain organizations the District Magistrate, South Andaman has further stated that such collections made in the name of COVID-19 are nothing but ‘unjust enrichment’ by some elements out to exploit the Covid-19 pandemic, as there were no accounts available of how much fund is being collected or spent, and for what purposes. Stringent action shall be taken against agencies/individuals who are responsible for indulging in such illegal activity.

The General public is requested to pass any such information at District Control Room no. 1077, 03192-238881, 03192-240127, and 9531888844 (Whatsapp).

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