Juvenile held for COVID-19 rumour on WhatsApp 

The minor had spread the rumour after a meat stall owner asked him to pay money

Irked over a meat stall owner seeking the return of his money, a juvenile who posted a damaging message on WhatsApp against the stall was arrested by the Neyveli Thermal police on Wednesday night.

The minor posted that a resident of Block 21 in Neyveli who had purchased chicken from the stall had fallen ill and tested positive for COVID-19. The message vent viral and resulted in a dip in sales over the past few days.

On Wednesday, A. Fakrudin Ali Ahamed, owner of Sahana chicken stall in Block 28 in Neyveli, lodged a complaint with the Neyveli Thermal Police alleging that the minor had been spreading rumours through WhatsApp messages against his stall, after he demanded the return of his money.

The messages also claimed that a Neyveli resident had fallen ill after consuming the meat and had tested positive for COVID-19. The minor had also spread rumours that the person who had fallen ill was referred from the Neyveli General Hospital to the Cuddalore Government General Hospital and his condition continued to be critical.

Ahamed claimed that the false messages went viral on WhatsApp from February 25, resulting in damage of reputation of his stall and loss in business. Customers had stopped visiting the stall resulting in mental agony, he said in his complaint.

Based on a complaint lodged by Ahamed, the police arrested the juvenile and a case was booked against him under Sections 505 (2) of Indian Penal Code read with Section 67 of Information Technology Act. The juvenile was produced before a local court and sent to a Government Observation Home for Boys in Cuddalore.

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