In early August 2019, Indian government announced the abrogation of Article 370, revoking Kashmir’s special status and bifurcating Jammu and Kashmir State into two Union Territories. Before the announcement, mobile networks were shut down and internet service was stopped. Officials held some of the politicians and former Chief Ministers of the region under house arrest. Consequently, internet space has witnessed many fake news and spread of misinformation.
Considering the sensitive situation in disputed region of Jammu & Kashmir after bifurcation, fake news can do more harm than any good. So, we are listing here some of the popular fake news spreading through WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms.
1. Pakistani Journalist Shares Misleading Pictures about Atrocities on Kashmiris
On 4th August 2019, during a Twitter conversation, Pakistani Journalist Ameer Abbas shared couple of pictures of wounded women as Atrocities of Indian Army on Kashmiris. He also went on to say Indian Army kills innocent and unarmed Kashmiris. However, both the pictures are misleading and not related to the situation in Kashmir after abrogation of special status.
The first picture showing the face of a badly wounded woman is in fact a Palestinian victim. The injury of 17-year-old girl Rawia Abu Joma took place in Israeli airstrikes in Gaza city back in 2014. Interestingly, in 2017, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Maleeha Lodhi showed the same photograph as a proof of alleged cruelty on Kashmiris in India. Likewise, it also appeared with false claims saying the woman is a Kashmiri pellet gun victim. The other picture shows two Kashmiri Muslim girls crying over the detention of their relative after an explosion in Srinagar on 17th February 2004.
2. Police Atrocity on Kashmiri Muslims
On 4th August 2019, Pakistani politician Aamir Liaquat Husain shared some pictures on Twitter allegedly showing a Genocide in Indian occupied Kashmir. The pictures are particularly misleading and not related to the situation in Kashmir after abrogation of Article 370.
The first picture in fact shows Indian policemen beating Kashmiri government employees during a protest in Srinagar back in May 2014. The police action meant to stop the government employees during a protest called by the worker’s union demanding regularization of contractual jobs and a hike in salary.
Pakistani website dailypakistan.com.pk used the second image in Feb. 2018 reporting it as Police atrocity on people of Indian occupied Kashmir. Unlike the claims, the people were protesting on streets.
The third picture of a fire break out on street is in fact a scene after a communal tension broke out in Bhadrak, Odisha in 2017. It is in no way related to Kashmir.
The fourth picture of fight between police and public is a scene of tension from disputed Kashmir in 2017. At the time, an exchange of fire between Indian and Pakistani troops took place.
3. Rifts Among Indian Security Forces in Kashmir
On 12th August 2019, a verified Twitter account @WajSKhan attempted to divide the security forces in Jammu and Kashmir and show Kashmir situation in bad light. He claimed about rifts emerging among Indian security forces deployed in Kashmir.