oppn parties Kashmir: Rumours Will Abound If Information Blackout Continues

News Snippets

  • The government says Covid-19 is still in local transmission stage in India
  • Government scotches rumours of extending the lockdown beyond April14. Says no such plan
  • Centre asks states to give shelter and food to migrant workers to stop them from taking to the streets
  • RBI cuts repo rate by 75 bps, the steepest in 10 years
  • Centre writes to states regarding laxity in monitoring people who had arrived from abroad between January and March
  • Kerala reports a spurt in new cases
  • With 124 fresh cases on Friday, the number of reported cases in India stand at 854
  • Five of a family, including a 9-month-old-baby test positive for Covid-19 in Nadia district in West Bengal on Friday
  • The Pakistani army is reportedly forcibly moving all Covid-19 patients to PoK and Gilgit
  • Untimely azaans in J&K mosques spark panic gathering
  • Stocks rise - Sensex up by 1400 points and Nifty goes above the 8600 mark
  • Rahul Gandhi says the economic package is "the first step in the right direction"
  • The government announces wide-ranging measures to help the poor overcome the economic hardship caused by Covid-19
  • G20 leaders to hold a virtual meeting today to explore ways of fighting Covid-19 in a coordinated manner
  • The Delhi government orders testing of all medical staff after the positive test on a Delhi mohalla clinic doctor
Death toll reaches 27 as Covid-19 cases across India reach 974 on Saturday
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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.