Rumor mongers on prowl on social media, incite communal tension

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SRINAGAR: At a time when Kashmir has been witnessing bloodbath in the aftermath of the killing of top militant commander, Burhan Muzaffar Wani, rumor mongers are on prowl, particularly on social media to fester uncertainty.

Even though, the mobile internet was suspended in Kashmir within hours of Burhan’s killing on July 8, some of the people pretended to have access to the net services on their mobile phones to seemingly incite communal tension. Presently only landline broadband services are operational in the Valley.

One of the men, in an “SOS” claimed that he was inside a temple in Kulgam area of south Kashmir being attacked from all sides by mobs with security personnel nowhere in place to save his life.

“I’m inside Kakran temple. We are surrounded by mob, who are relentlessly attacking temple with stones. No army or security cover is visible,” posted a netizen Vinod Pandit on Twitter handle ‏@VinodAPMCC.

Members of a particularly community instantly re-tweeted his “distress” message numerous times sending an alert, which hinted at communal attack. The rumor spread like wildfire that “devotees on way to Amarnath Yatra were being targeted by Kashmiri mobs.”

Some of the netizens instantly launched an online campaign that government should crush protests in the Valley with iron hands and “handover Kashmir to Indian Army.”

Many like Pawan Durrani echoed the tweets of Vinod Koul. Some even went on saying that Burhan’s body should not have been handed over for burial.

But this bubble allegedly burst within a few hours when some of the vigilant Kashmiri netizens countered such claims.

Faiz Dijoo took such “SOS” snapshots to Facebook for awareness. “Look at this guy. I mean my God how can he be full of disgust. Adding fuel to existing fire… If I am not wrong, internet services were taken off last night and as of now there is no such news that a temple has a BSNL broadband internet. How can he tweet?” Dijoo asked.

A senior journalist equally countered the tweet, saying: “@VinodAPMCC Answer the questions Mr Pandit. People don’t have access 2 basic telephony in south Kmr & U R using internet. Baffles everyone.”

Farheen Qureshi a netizen with twitter handle  ‏@farahtweetss  said: “@VinodAPMCC @PawanDurani And how does your mobile Internet work inside temple, when it’s snapped all over here? I thought it’s only BSNL!”

A senior official said such tweets appear to be mischief to disrupt communal harmony in the Valley when Yatra is underway. “How could this man have access to internet connectivity,” the official said adding the matter would be looked into “if formally brought into the notice of authorities.”

The government had suspended mobile internet services in Kashmir Valley to check spreading of rumors by anti-social elements following the killing of Jammu and Kashmir’s most wanted militant Burhan Wani by security forces.

Though at least 19 civilians were killed and over 200 injured in firing by government forces, there was no report any Yatri or others having been targeted by the members of the majority community. “Kashmir maintained communal harmony even during protests.”

Repeated attempts to contact Vinod Koul didn’t bear fruits.  However, on July 10, he tweeted: “Reached Jammu Just now from Kakran temple along with yatris. Were evacuated last night in high security cover.”

“Thank you all for the concern shown. Thank you,” he said in a subsequent tweet.

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