A local court has granted bail to Zubair Ahmed, a freelance journalist, who was arrested late evening on April 27 by Andaman police for posting a tweet about COVID-19 from his Twitter handle.
In his tweet, he questioned why families were placed under home quarantine for merely speaking over the phone with Coronavirus patients.
Ahmed’s friends say that he referred to a news article which reported that a family was quarantined as one of the members spoke to a COVID-19 positive person on phone.
They say that it was a harmless tweet for which "a draconian action like an arrest is completely unjustified."
When contacted Dependra Pathak, DGP, A&N Administration, he said that it is incorrect to say that he tweeted a news item.
“He posted an inciting, false and instigating tweet to disrupt public harmony, violating government order and to create panic among the public,” Pathak said.
Ahmed is a resident of Bambooflat area and a significant portion of which is declared a containment area. Many residents have been tested positive and extensive contact tracing exercise is underway.
Pathak also said that he made informal efforts to dissuade corona positives/quarantined contacts not to reveal details to administration jeopardising the very effort of isolating suspects and containing the pandemic spread.
Justifying his action as an essential one, Pathak also held that it was done in an impartial manner.
“Even government officers and their spouse and child have not been spared. These are challenging times. Single false information or instigating message can ruin, damage, frustrate and nullify the entire effort put in so far to contain and prevent the spread of Coronavirus,” he said.