Video Editor: Varun Sharma
Amid heightened tension and the effective revocation of Article 370, which conferred a special status to Jammu and Kashmir through a Presidential Order, the Internet has been flooded with erroneous information.
Some have claimed that a live encounter is going on in Kashmir, while some have said that the Central government has taken custody of the Valley’s mosques. The unverified messages, which are especially dangerous at a time when communication with the people in the Valley has been severed, have roused a storm on the Internet.
The Quint's WebQoof team has debunked seven fake news stories in the last 24 hours.
Fake News on Kashmir Issue
A Pakistani journalist Ameer Abbas shared two pictures with his 42,000 followers on Twitter, saying the pictures are from Kashmir and show the Indian Army’s “brutally against innocent Kashmiris in the Valley”.
His post and the pictures with it was retweeted by nearly 2,000 people.
However, the claim is false. The pictures are old and one of them is not even from Kashmir. The image on the left, which shows a woman with a wounded face, is from Gaza and dates back to 2014.
Interestingly, in 2017 Pakistan's Permanent Representative to the UN Maleeha Lodhi had attempted to pass off the photograph as ‘evidence of atrocities’ on Kashmiris: a blatant lie in the United Nations.
Fake Post Claims to Show ‘Live Encounter in Kashmir’
There was another post which claimed to show a short clip of a ‘live encounter in Kashmir.’
However, this turned out to be fake too.
The WebQoof team found that the video is old, and actually shows a joint military exercise by India and the US, which had been conducted in 2016 in a village called Chaubattia in Uttarakhand.
The video clip was taken from a report which was carried by DD News and clipped in a way that it could be passed off an encounter.
What’s striking about these posts is that they are old, out of context and even sometimes clipped to propagate a certain agenda, which is why it’s necessary to remain vigilant.
So, don’t just trust your eyes and believe everything that you see/read simply because it looks real. Because fake news is not just about spreading unverified news but can also prove very dangerous.
Rumours About Yasin Malik’s Death
There is another fake news that was bound to have severe repercussions both locally and internationally.
Another piece of fake news which was bound to have severe repercussions, both locally and internationally was spread: a rumour that Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front Chief Yasin Malik is dead. The rumour explained the additional deployment with its claim, and said that the move came in order to contain the situation in Kashmir. The news was attributed to BBC Urdu.
While multiple news reports have suggested Yasin Malik’s ill-health, no news about his death was reported. However, as rumour mongering began on WhatsApp and Twitter, the DG of Tihar Jail issued a clarification saying Malik is “normal” and “doing fine”.
Don’t Fall for Fake News; Look Out for Red Flags
Now there are many red flags that you can look for to know if a post, news report or video is fake. In this case, the news was attributed to BBC Urdu, but did they themselves report it? No. So, does that raise an alarm? Yes, it does.
Now, many red flags can be noticed in posts/news reports/videos which are fake. In the aforementioned case, the news was attributed to BBC Urdu. However, did they report it? No, they did not, which is raises alarm. How can a news report be attributed to BBC Urdu when it hasn’t been reported by them?
Hence, the next time you come across any unverified information, think twice before you hit the forward button, get to the bottom of the information and if you still have queries or don’t think you want to do it yourself, send it to us and we will verify it for you.
(Not convinced of a post or information you came across online and want it verified? Send us the details on Whatsapp at 9643651818, or e-mail it to us at email@example.com we'll fact-check it for you. You can also read all our fact-checked stories here.)