Mumbai Police are cracking the whip on rumours about ‘monkey men’ and the ‘chaddi baniyan gang’ which have circulated around the city in recent months.
They have now arrested 72 people for allegedly spreading the rumours following the deaths of two men.
Although the East Region police have made the arrests, mostly of local residents, the West and North Region police stations are yet to register a single case – in spite of a death in Kandivali in a stampede-like-situation sparked of by an alleged sighting of a ‘money man’.
According to Quiser Khalid, additional commissioner of police (East Region), 27 offences have been registered against people for spreading rumours and creating fear and panic.
“We traced the pranksters and arrested them,” said Khalid. “After the arrests, the rumours have died down considerably,” he added.
Sanjay Shintre, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone 7) claimed that these rumours originated during the recently held Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) elections, and have died down since.
Shintre said during the BMC election, due to heavy bandobast, the police did not allow political party members to sit idle on roads and streets.
“In order to be on streets and restrict other party members from entering their locality, party members began spreading such rumours. They told the residents and the police that they were on the streets for patrolling and securing the locality,” Shintre said.
The police received many complaints about people spotting men from the ‘chaddi baniyan’ gang or the ‘monkey man’.
“We visited the spots where a person claimed to have spotted the monkey man, many entirely denied the claim. We have arrested such people,” Shintre said.
When contacted about the rumours also allegedly floating in areas from Goregaon to Borivali, Additional Commissioner of Police (North Region) Ramrao Pawar said the police had not got any complaint as yet.