Even as the gruesome riots in north-east Delhi is fresh in public memory, another part of the city panicked today as rumours made the people jittery. From West Delhi, dreadful ‘news’ emerged and circulated wildly on social media, especially messaging service WhatsApp.
Some of the ‘reports’ Sirf News received were as follows:
- all shops closing in Mayapuri
- all gates of the colony closed but nothing on TV
- Raghubir Nagar abuzz with reports of action in Madipur
- Jail Road Market closed
- Riots in Raghubir Nagar
- Tilak Nagar Metro station closed
- Hindu-Muslim riot in Muslim-dominated Raghubir Nagar
- Riot-like situation in Uttam Nagar
- in front of my eyes, all shops across the road in Hari Nagar have downed their shutters in 5 min
- Subhash Nagar riots confirmed and
- my neighbour’s car attacked by laathis in Subhash Nagar
The police confirmed within an hour that the rumours like above started doing the rounds that they were all bogus, and that it was peaceful in west Delhi. However, people did panic and many shopkeepers indeed brought down the shutters and ran home.
Anil Sharma, the SHO of Rajouri Garden police station, came on camera to dispel the gossips.
In some areas of west Delhi like Tilak Nagar, Hari Nagar, Khyala in Delhi, there was chaos after rumours of violence on Sunday evening. People were seen running around and closing shops.
Delhi Police then said there was no need to panic. There has been no violence anywhere, the police said.
Police are looking for rumour-mongers on social media. Delhi Police insists west Delhi is safe and that there has been no violence on Sunday.
Amidst the rumours, however, the DMRC closed the Metro stations of Nangloi, Surajmal Stadium, Badarpur, Tughlakabad, Uttam Nagar West and Nawada Metro Station besides Tilak Nagar in a hurry.
After about 15 minutes, all the Metro stations were reopened.
Delhi Police PRO MS Randhawa said, “We got calls from West Delhi, South-East Delhi, Madanpur Khadar, Rajouri Garden, Hari Nagar and Khyala where people are nervous. Please do not believe them. The situation is normal at these places.”
Randhawa said the police are monitoring social media and would take action against those spreading the rumour. He said, “Things are normal in the city. Senior officials are monitoring the situation. Do not rely on panic-stricken gossips at all.”
“West Delhi” (without a hashtag) is trending on Twitter.
Meanwhile, Delhi Police has appealed to the people to maintain peace. Police have said that some chaotic elements are spreading rumours.
“It is seen that some chaotic elements are spreading rumours that disrupt the peace system. People are warned not to spread these rumours nor to trust them. Law-and-order is completely under control in Delhi and the situation is calm,” the department tweeted.
The DCP West described rumour as the biggest enemy. He said that tension had gripped Khayala and Raghubir Nagar was a rumour. “There is no truth behind it,” he said. The situation is completely normal and peaceful. Everyone is requested to maintain peace, he appealed.
The South-East DCP said that all incoming calls had been investigated. There was no incident anywhere. “Only rumour!” he said. “Stay away from such things,” he cautioned.
According to the SHO whose video appears above, there was a police raid on the hideout of gamblers Khayala, where bullets were fired. The policemen were in civil dress. People believed the police and the bookies had got into a gunfight. The belief assumed the form of a rumour and spread far and wide, the policeman says.
Both AAP MLA Jarnail Singh of Tilak Nagar and BJP politician Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga have appealed to the people not to pay attention to rumours. Bagga said he had spoken to the Tilak Nagar SHO and that this was just a rumour.