Remove Pak-Operated Accounts Fuelling J&K Turmoil, Centre Tells Twitter

Jammu and Kashmir: The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), the Jammu and Kashmir Police and other security agencies have been warning social media users not to believe in rumours

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The centre last week scrapped special status from Jammu and Kashmir


New Delhi: 

The Home Ministry has written to microblogging site Twitter to remove eight accounts run by people outside Jammu and Kashmir, amid intelligence reports that they were being run on Pakistan's behest.

These accounts have been "spreading rumours and misinformation to disturb peace and calm in (Kashmir) valley," Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba said in a letter to Twitter, according to a senior official in the ministry who asked not to be named.

"These handles were circulating fake news and the language they used in the tweets is a clear indication that they were either being run by (Pakistan's spy agency) ISI or the Pakistan Army," a senior police officer told NDTV.

"These twitter handles are not from (Kashmir) valley. The information being shared is wrong and we have asked Twitter authorities to take action as per the law and also request citizens not to believe the malicious campaign," Inspector General of Kashmir range Swayam Prakash Pani told NDTV.

The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), the Jammu and Kashmir Police and other security agencies have been warning social media users not to believe in rumours about alleged large-scale violence in Jammu and Kashmir, which is under lockdown since the centre scrapped special status and divided it into two union territories last week.

"We do not comment on individual accounts for privacy and security reasons. Legal requests made to Twitter are published twice-yearly in our Twitter Transparency Report," a Twitter spokesperson said, according to news agency PTI.

The CRPF on Monday dismissed as "malicious" a tweet by a Pakistani journalist about an alleged rift between the central force and the Jammu and Kashmir Police. The post on the alleged clash was made by Pakistani journalist Wajahat Saeed Khan from his verified Twitter handle.

"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," the CRPF tweeted.

The Jammu and Kashmir Police also said it has written to Twitter seeking technical details of the user. "The Twitter handle 'WSK' is spreading rumours through his tweets very frequently which are leading to law and order situation in Kashmir valley which in turn is a threat to lives of general public and that of security forces... The tweets could lead to clashes between various communities," the state police said in the letter.

Jammu and Kashmir on Monday celebrated Eid-al-Adha amid massive security restrictions, with the government sharing photos of prayers at smaller neighbourhood mosques in Srinagar as streets remained deserted and watched by security personnel.

Reports said prayers were not allowed at major mosques in Srinagar and large gatherings stayed banned across the Kashmir valley. The Jammu and Kashmir police tweeted that Eid prayers had been peaceful.

A Home Ministry spokesperson said on Saturday that there had been "stray protests" in Srinagar and Baramulla, none of which involved a crowd of more than 20 people. The Home Ministry has dismissed media reports about a protest by some 10,000 people in Kashmir valley as "fabricated and incorrect".

The government said people must not believe in rumours about alleged incidents of firing in Kashmir valley.

Former chief minister Omar Abdullah's National Conference has appealed in the Supreme Court against the government's decision. In its petition - filed by party MPs Akbar Lone and Hasnain Masoodi - the party claimed the centre's move was "illegal".



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