oppn parties Kashmir: Rumours Will Abound If Information Blackout Continues

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  • Mobile operators Vodafone-Idea and Airtel decide to raise tariffs from next month
  • Sharad Pawar meets Sonia Gandhi and says more time needed for government formation in Maharashtra
  • Justice S A Bobde sworn in as the 47th Chief Justice of India
  • Supreme Court holds hotels liable for theft of vehicle from their parking area if parked by valet, says "owner's risk" clause is not a shield from such liability
  • Finance Minister says she is receiving feedback from many sectors that recovery is happening as there is lower stress
  • Sabarimala temple opens, but police bar the entry of women below 50 years
  • Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman says Air India and BPCL to be sold off by March
  • Media person Rajat Sharma resigns as DDCA president
  • Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress postpone meeting the governor of Maharashtra
  • Shiv Sena not to attend the NDA meeting on 17th November, says break up "a formality"
  • Shiv Sena says that the confidence the BJP is showing about forming the government in Maharashtra is based purely on its expectation of getting numbers through horse trading
  • Anil Ambani resigns as director of the bankrupt Reliance Communications
  • India beat Bangladesh by an innings and 150 rums inside three days in the first Test. Indian pacers excel after Mayank Agarwal's double century
  • Sena-NCP-Congress work out a common minimum programme, will form the government soon and it will last 5 years, says Sharad Pawar
  • Income Tax Appellate Tribunal upholds the decision to withdraw the charitable status of Young India, making it liable to pay Rs 145 in income tax. Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Vadra are the majority shareholders in the company
Two Muslim litigants in Ayodhya refuse to accept the Supreme Court order, say review petition might be filed
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Kashmir: Rumours Will Abound If Information Blackout Continues

By Sunil Garodia

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.

What happens when an information blackout is imposed on a state? Rumours abound. Plus biased persons use social media to spread incendiary messages. A Pakistani journalist has made one such post on Twitter. This is what he had to say:

The CRPF was quick to respond. It said:

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.

But such things can be avoided if the information blackout is lifted immediately. Allow journalists to travel across the length and breadth of the Valley. Let them meet people. Let them report true incidents. Let them report the problems of the people. Then act on these reports and help the people. If malicious reports are published by Indian journalists, they can be confronted and taken to task. But if Pakistani journalists or even separatist stooges spread rumours, it can lead to disastrous consequences.

The government is perhaps thinking that keeping the state locked down will prevent protests. But it is wrong. When people have nothing to do, they reflect on the situation and with no newspapers or television channels to provide information and no telephone to talk to people, they start forming horrifying scenarios in their minds. They start believing any and everything they hear. Their anger and resentment build up with each passing day.

The government must have known that there will be huge protests against its move to read down Article 370. Apart from sending the troops and enforcing a lockdown, it must have thought of other plans to counter the protests. For, the lockdown cannot be sustained for long. What will happen after the restrictions are lifted? Like in war games, the government must have envisaged several scenarios and must have thought of a plan for each of the scenarios. It would be best in the interest of the state and the nation if the restrictions are lifted forthwith (now that the Eid festival is over) and if there are protests, the government must put its plans in action. The stalemate is beginning to resemble the lull before the storm.