A government circular ordering nationwide lockdown till January 31 and prohibiting large gatherings and congregations of any sorts amid ongoing farmers' protests in Delhi has gone viral. According to the notice, the protesting farmers reached Rajpath, India Gate, PM's residence, Red Fort among other high-security places in Delhi, which appears to have prompted the lockdown order.
The notice orders police officers in all divisions across the national capital go on state that the farmers' tractor rally reached Rajpath, India Gate, Red Fort, Ramula Ground, Rashtrapati Bhawan, PM Residence, HM residence, parliament house, CM house and LG house and cannot be ruled out.
Citing the COVID-19 pandemic, the government reportedly ordered a nationwide lockdown including Delhi till 31 January 2021. Most importantly, the circular states that any large assembly or congregation of religious, political, social and cultural nature and processions are prohibited.
Finally, the circular adds that "it is suggested that adequate and prompt arrangements by local police (including women), PCR and Traffic may be deployed to stop them from coming at the places mentioned above and maintain law and order and to prevent any untoward incident."
The circular is dated January 26, 2021, and addressed to DCPs of all districts, security, traffic and PCR, law & order in central, south and western zone by Additional CP, Special Branch Delhi.
International Business Times received a copy of the circular from an unverified source. There is no evidence of the order being issued by the Delhi Police. The Special Branch and Delhi Police official websites haven't listed the circular on their official website, nor conveyed the same through social media channels.
A nationwide order wouldn't be amiss, but the lack of news coverage on such big news is another giveaway that the order is fake or manufactured.
We tried reaching out to the Additional CP of Special Branch Delhi, but to no avail. We verified if the circular holds any water by checking with ACPs of various zones in Delhi. One officer chose not to comment on the matter but said the police hadn't received any order of imposing a lockdown in the national capital, let alone across India.
The document also lacks some basic elements such as Additional CP's signature and states that farmers had already reached Rashtrapati Bhawan, PM Residence, HM residence, CM residence, LG residence, but the security has been beefed up outside the locations to avoid any law and order situation. The police have already said mass gatherings outside such places will not be tolerated and that they should be stopped.
International Business Times hasn't been able to reach Additional CP - Special Branch Delhi to verify the authenticity of the order. But based on the information gathered by us, it is evident that there is no such order given to the Delhi Police.