The call is significant in light of the Pakistani leadership proclaiming its full support to the people of Kashmir and their attempts to highlight the ongoing role of Indian security forces in the region.
In the latest development, Pakistan security forces have moved closer to the Line of Control (Loc) that divides the two countries while the Pakistan army confirmed that the country has test-fired surface-to-surface ballistic missile 'Ghaznavi', capable of delivering multiple warheads.
According to Imtiyaz Hussian, Senior Superintendent of Police, (Security), Srinagar, which is the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, the region has been witnessing a “proxy war” for more than seven decades and the local administration is determined to quell all forms of anti-India propaganda.
Rubbishing an international news agency report that the Jammu and Kashmir police were disarmed in one incident that led to clashes between local police and Indian security forces, Hussian said: “Police always use non-lethal weapons. Weapons were not used for crowd control, the news agency created a false impression that weapons have been withdrawn from police.”
In a tweet on Tuesday (27 August), Hussain said foreign media outlets such as the BBC were guilty of deliberately misrepresenting the situation in Kashmir.
It’s important to portray a truthful picture of Kashmir situation because a lot of Pakistani boys reading these BBC Urdu exaggerated stories widely shared on social media get motivated to join terrorist ranks & come to Kashmir creating trouble. https://t.co/kYFb8zOLEu— Imtiyaz Hussain (@hussain_imtiyaz) 27 August 2019
Stating that to control rumour-mongering and fake news, internet services had been barred for some time, Hussain said. “Journalists are reporting factually incorrect and biased stories based on rumours.”
“We have tried to stop rumours of Pakistani sympathisers in Kashmir who are working as their paid agents. We have been facing a proxy war here for the past 70 years. I have busted dozens of fake news stories and made them public,” the officer said.
According to historian and author Professor Hari Om, Jammu and Kashmir has been a victim of rumours since 1913.
Stating Kashmir’s problem is rumour-mongering, the historian said: “The political leadership of Kashmir has survived only because of rumours. A major rumour post-independence was that the Instrument of Accession between India and the state of Jammu and Kashmir was not permanent. But it is not.”
Another rumour actively spread around in Kashmir is that Islam is in danger: “This is the height of misinformation. How can Islam be in danger when 90 percent of the population is Muslim?”
Some leaders and their supporters used rumours to radicalise others in Kashmir and turned them against the security forces, the historian said.
Some villagers also admitted to being swayed by such misinformation campaigns that later turned out to be false.
“My father had gone to Pakistan because of rumours. But he said he realised the reality there and returned. We have relatives in Pakistan but feel lucky here in India,” said 49-year-old Talib Hussain, a resident of Ghanda Village in Jammu region.
On the Indian government’s decision to revoke special status of the State of Jammu and Kashmir, Hussain said: “We are sure it is good for us.”
Senior advocate Diwakar Sharma said the communication blockade has saved many lives. “The internet has been used in the state to spread false rumours of incidents.”
“A lot of lives have been lost in the past due to rumours. The government is now restoring broadband and mobile services soon. We are happy here, whether in Jammu, Ladakh or Kashmir,” he added.
Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik has also cautioned people to beware of rumours.
The situation in the state of Jammu and Kashmir has been tense since the Indian Parliament scrapped the region's special status earlier this month, separating the state into two separate union territories – Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh. The new system is likely to come into effect in October.
Ahead of the move, the government pushed prohibitory orders in Kashmir and took all the leaders of regional political parties into preventive custody.
India's move caused a diplomatic row with Pakistan and in response, Islamabad expelled New Delhi's envoy to the country, suspending trade, and communication links.