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Fake news galore on Kashmir

State agencies said there were not incident of violence on the day, trashing a Pakistani journalist's claim of a cop gunning down of 5 CRPF troopers

By The Telegraph in New Delhi

  • Published 13.08.19, 6:20 PM
  • Updated 13.08.19, 6:20 PM
A large part of Kashmir remains under curfew since August 6, when the union government abrogated Article 370 and moved the bill to bifurcate the state into two.
A large part of Kashmir remains under curfew since August 6, when the union government abrogated Article 370 and moved the bill to bifurcate the state into two. (AP)

Fake news on Jammu and Kashmir has flooded social media. 

Yesterday, a Pakistani journalist claimed that a Kashmiri police officer had gunned down five CRPF troopers because they had disallowed a pregnant woman a curfew pass. 

“Rifts emerging among Indian security forces deployed in #Kashmir. A Muslim Kashmiri policeman shot & killed five Indian CRPF personnel in a ‘blue on blue’ attack after they refused to let a pregnant woman by because she didn’t have a curfew pass. Things on edge since that attack,” a tweet by Pakistani journalist Wajahat Saeed Khan read.

The CRPF responded with a tweet and condemned the “news” as baseless and malicious.

“The malicious content of this tweet is absolutely baseless and untrue. As always, all the security forces of India are working with coordination and bonhomie. Patriotism and our tricolour lie at the core of our hearts and existence, even when the color of our uniforms may differ,” the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) commented from its official Twitter account. 

Kashmir zone police also took notice of the misinformation shared by the journalist from across the border, flagging the post as fake news to Twitter. 

But fake news is not restricted to Pakistan. A video shared by a police officer, which he posted claiming that everything was hunky and dory in Kashmir, was also dismissed as fake news by many, even by a local news website.

The video clip, shared by a Kashmir police officer Imtiyaz Hussain "in personal capacity", was claimed to have been shot on August 10 and depicted a business as usual picture of Kashmir with a lot of people milling around. The video even had folksy background music. 

A local website Kashmir Horizon denounced that video as an old one. The vintage of the video could not be independently verified, nor the editor of the website could be contacted because of suspension of telecommunication in the state. 

As phone and internet connections remained cut off, the government agencies tried to assuage media outside Kashmir, claiming that everything was peaceful during Id and that people were allowed to celebrate the festival, which they did without any incident of violence.

The public relations wing of the Jammu and Kashmir government shared the details of approximate number of people who offered Id prayers in mosques across the state. 

Although the handle didn’t speak of any incident of violence or of stone throwing, it maintained that connectivity restrictions were clamped because of security concerns.

“Restrictions on connectivity continue as a result of security requirements. However, people are being facilitated to contact their relatives & children outside state through widespread deployment of helplines at convenient locations like DC office, Police stations& Police posts,” the PR wing tweeted.

The PR team also said that 5,000 calls are being allowed to be made through 300 public points across Kashmir. The figure is not flattering when one takes into account the population of the region, which touches almost seven million. 

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