Man booked in UP for seeking oxygen support on social media


A man from Amethi has been booked for allegedly circulating a ‘rumour’ with the intent to cause ‘fear’ over oxygen supply.

The man, Shashank Yadav, had appealed for an oxygen cylinder for his grandfather on Twitter.

In his tweet, Yadav had not mentioned whether his grandfather had Covid-19. His grandfather later died of a heart attack.

Yadav had sent an SOS on Monday evening tagging actor Sonu Sood, asking for his help.

Yadav’s friend, Ankit shared the message and sought help from journalist Arfa Khanum Sherwani. She posted a tweet a few hours later, asking for help for Yadav’s grandfather.

Sherwani also tagged Union minister and Amethi MP Smriti Irani in the post.

None of these messages, however, mentioned that Yadav sought an oxygen cylinder for a Covid-19 patient. Shortly after the tweet, Smriti Irani responded, saying she had called Yadav multiple times but was not able to reach him. Irani said she had asked the district magistrate and the Amethi police to follow up.

After a while, Yadav’s grandfather passed away. Smriti Irani expressed her condolences, saying, “Kept calling his number, we all did including CMO, Amethi police…I just wish he had picked up his phone.”

On Tuesday afternoon, Amethi district magistrate Arun Kumar responded to Sherwani’s original tweet and shared the Chief Medical Officer’s report that said Yadav’s grandfather did not have Covid-19 but was undergoing treatment at a private hospital in Durgapur.

Later that evening, police responded to Yadav’s tweet and said that the 88-year-old man did not have Covid-19 but died of a heart attack.

“At this time, it is not only condemnable, but also a legal offence to post such type of fear-generating posts on social media,” the Amethi Police said.

Superintendent of Police (SP), Dinesh Kumar, said the person has been booked for spreading rumour on social media about oxygen scarcity. He further added that the arrest is an important message for those who are spreading wrong information amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

“When his grandfather fell ill, Yadav wrote on Twitter that an oxygen cylinder is required, tagging actor Sonu Sood. He neither enquired for an oxygen cylinder, nor was his grandfather a Covid positive patient,” the SP said.

Shashank Yadav could not be contacted for his version.