India isn’t only fighting biology as it deals with the coronavirus pandemic — it’s also fighting some of its own people. And thus far, the authorities seem to be doing well on both counts.
A man who had threatened to spread the coronavirus by rubbing his face on currency notes in a viral TikTok video has now been arrested. “The coronavirus has no cure,” the man had ominously said after rubbing Rs. 500 currency notes on his face. “This is not a disease, it’s judgement from Allah for people like you,” he added, and then licked the wad of currency notes.
The video was uploaded by user SayyedJameel48 on TikTok, where it went viral and soon found its way to other platforms. After most people had reacted with shock and horror at the video, the Nashik Rural Police yesterday reported that they had arrested the man. The suspect, a 40-year-old man from Malegaon in Maharashtra, was arrested under sections 153 and 188 of the Indian Penal Code. Section 153 punishes persons who indulge in wanton vilification or attacks upon the religion, race, place of birth, residence, language etc of any particular group or class or upon the founders and prophets of a religion.
This isn’t the first instance when citizens have used, or threatened to use, biological weapons during the coronavirus crisis. Earlier, Tablighi Jamaat members were spitting outside the buses that were used to transport them to quarantine facilities, and the Railways had also complained that the members were spitting on doctors. A week ago, Mujeeb Mohammad, an Infosys engineer, had been arrested after he made a social media post in which he urged people to sneeze and spread the coronavirus.