A photograph of a police notice, undersigned by the Bulandshahr Police of Uttar Pradesh has been doing the rounds on social media. It has drawn criticism from users, calling it cruel.
Claim: “बुलंदशहर ।
मजदूर को पानी पिलाओगे तो जेल जाओगे ।
बुलंदशहर पुलिस का तुगलकी फरमान ।
संकटकाल में नेक काम कर रहे लोगों पर पुलिस का अत्याचार ।
गरीब को खाना खिलाया,तो होगा मुकदमा ।“
(Translation: Bulandshahr. If you give labourers water, you’ll go to jail. Bulandshahr Police’s Tughlaq-like decree. Bulandshahr Police atrocities on people doing noble work in a crisis. If the poor are fed, then there will be a case.)
[The police notice translates to –
We have been noticing that you have been stopping walking migrant labourers outside your house. A confidential source has told us that you stop the labourers and call them to your house by tempting them with food and water. This is in violation of COVID-19 rules.
You have been informed, if you violate these COVID-19 rules in the future, you will be charged under the Epidemic Diseases Act and investigations will be carried out accordingly.
Date – 11/05/2020
Janpad, Bulandshahr Police]
Journalist Gaurav Singh Senghar’s tweet was liked over a thousand times and was retweeted by more than 400 users.
मजदूर को पानी पिलाओगे तो जेल जाओगे-
बुलंदशहर पुलिस का तुगलकी फरमान-
संकटकाल में नेक काम कर रहे लोगों पर पुलिस का अत्याचार-
गरीब को खाना खिलाया,तो होगा मुकदमा… pic.twitter.com/JBJQt1Gn2x
— Gaurav Singh Sengar (@sengarlive) May 15, 2020
Aam Aadmi Party MLA Alka Lamba also tweeted the notice with the wrong caption.
सावधान रहिएगा… सरकार पहली कार्यवाही के बाद आपके घर पुलिस भेज कर आप पर दूसरी कार्यवाही भी कर सकती है,
जैसा कि इस व्यक्ति के साथ किया गया है.
सरकार के एक हाथ को नहीं पता कि दूसरा हाथ क्या कर रहा है और सरकार में चल क्या रहा है 🇮🇳🙏.#Delhi #Covid_19 #lockdown #India #UP #BJP pic.twitter.com/ZwcJZBAGuV
— Alka Lamba India अल्का लाम्बा भारत 🇮🇳🙏 (@LambaAlka) May 15, 2020
(Be careful, after the first investigation, the government can send the police to your house for the second one, like what happened to this person. The government’s hands do not know what the “other” hands are doing and what is going on in this government)
Although real but the notice was meant for one repetitive offender, not for general public
With the help of keywords, we found news reports regarding the notice issued by Bulandshahr police. In these articles, they clarify that the notice was specifically issued to BSP ex-MLA Bhagwan Sharma or Guddu Pandit. Pandit had been previously accused of violating the lockdown and social distancing measures. He had asked labourers to come outside his house, so he could give them food and water, causing them to not follow the social distancing guidelines set in place.
A report by The Hindu clarifies the contents of the viral tweet.
Another article by News18 reported on this misunderstanding.
The past instances of Guddu Pandit violating the lockdown have also been reported by news outlets, mentioning cases filed against him and his companions.
This report by Hindi daily Dainik Bhaskar highlights an incident where Pandit and 15-16 other people were caught violating the lockdown and social distancing guidelines in late April after two sadhus were killed in Uttar Pradesh.
This report says that Anoopshahr police station in Bulandshahr had charged Pandit and 15-16 of his companions under sections 188 (disobedience to an order duly promulgated by a public servant), 269 (Negligent act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life) and 270 (Malignant act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life) of the IPC. He has been accused of gathering at the scene of the murder of two sadhus, with his supporters. These actions did not follow social distancing guidelines.
Another Hindi news portal, Patrika, reported on another instance of Pandit having gathered migrants outside his house, in violation of social distancing guidelines.
Bulandshahr Police’s official Twitter account posted a video to address this viral police notice that was shared with the wrong context. They clarified that though nameless, the notice was issued for Pandit, who had been violating lockdown rules repeatedly.
सोशल मीडिया पर वायरल #नोटिस की #स्पष्ट_जानकारी के संबंध में वरिष्ठ पुलिस अधीक्षक @bulandshahrpol द्वारा दी गयी बाइट.. @dgpup @Uppolice @adgzonemeerut @igrangemeerut @News18UP @bstvlive pic.twitter.com/abNa9PL8RQ
— Bulandshahr Police (@bulandshahrpol) May 15, 2020
They also replied to many tweets, including Alka Lamba’s tweet, and clarified the issue.
उक्त प्रकरण की सत्यता… pic.twitter.com/0dDBBninId
— Bulandshahr Police (@bulandshahrpol) May 15, 2020
(Translation: Janpad Police always welcomes citizens helping the society. The notice which is being shared has been issued to Bhagwan Sharma or “Guddu Pandit”, against whom there are 4 different cases of lockdown violations in 2 different police stations. This notice had been issued to him because he gathered a crowd of migrant labourers outside his residence, thereby violating lockdown rules. The notice is being shared out of context.)
Therefore, the viral police notice from Bulandshahr does not punish everybody trying to help others but is specifically sent to Guddu Pandit because of his actions.