’Fake Story’ Leads to Words War Between PDP and NC
Fake news causes controversy in Kashmir
SRINAGAR: A war of words broke out today between the ruling Peoples Democratic Party and the Opposition National Conference over a ‘fake story' in a leading national daily about “attacks on tourists” in Kashmir that was tweeted by the former chief minister Omar Abdullah.
The working president of the National Conference tweeted a photo of the front page of the Delhi edition of The Times of India which had carried an allegedly fake story on a series of attacks on tourists, including a group from Indonesia in Srinagar.
“These stone-pelters are no friends or well-wishers of Kashmiris. They deserve to face the full weight of the law. This isn’t how we treat our guests #Kashmir,” Omar tweeted, adding a photo of the story headlined, 'Stone-pelters attack tourists in J&K, 4 hurt'.
The tweet was retweeted over 100 times before the youth president of the Peoples Democratic Party, Waheed Para, flagged it, saying it was a “baseless” report, “Sad you prefer to promote a news that's baseless, insulting and defaming/maligning the image of whole Kashmiris,” Para tweeted.
Police sources said barring one incident where a tourist bus was 'inadvertently' pelted with stones, no such incidents have been reported in Kashmir since last three days. They termed the TOI report as "malicious".
A follower of former chief minister, Rajiv Kumar, replied that he is on a visit to Kashmir and thanked the people of Kashmir for their warmth and hospitality, “My driver reasoned with stone pelters and they let us go. Thank you Kashmir,” Rajiv tweeted.
Soon, the PDP youth president was joined by other members of the party including Javaid Trali, a media analyst in chief minister Mehbooba Mufti’s office, who took on the former chief minister for promoting fake news, stating that the police has denied the report.
“The last viceroy of Kashmir - @OmarAbdullah - should be tried for sharing fake news about the attack on tourists by stone-pelters. The story carried by @TOIIndiaNews is baseless, & insulting. Police have denied the reports.Govt needs to initiate against the ex-CM,” Trali tweeted.
Omar, who is known for not mincing words, later deleted the tweet, “I’ve deleted it for the time being but if this is really fake news let’s see an acceptance of the same and a retraction of the story on the front of tomorrow’s Times of India. I’ll happily tweet a photo of that also. Now retweet this as well,” he tweeted in response to Para.
The story, which was widely shared on social media, attracted the ire of people of Kashmir, who demanded that the government must take action the newspaper and its reporter for “defaming Kashmir and Kashmiris”, “Action must follow if the story is fake. This has sent a wrong message at a time when the tourist season had just begun,” wrote Najeeb Kaw on Facebook.
“A tweet too soon unfortunately. While kashmir burns people are busy playing the game,” wrote Sardar Nasir Ali, a popular radio jockey on Facebook. The status was shared by senior PDP leader and J&K's public works minister, Naeem Akhtar.
Kashmir police chief Swayam Prakash Pani said the Valley is a safe place for tourists and the police is looking into news reports suggesting that stones were thrown at a bus carrying tourists in Srinagar.
“Tourists are never targeted in Kashmir valley. We have seen that no untoward incident has happened with any tourist in Kashmir. They have always remained safe here,” Pani was quoted as having said by a local news agency.