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DCs asked to deal sternly with rumour-mongers

Srinagar, Feb 25: The people of the valley should beware of “rumour mongers bent upon disturbing peace for vested interests”, Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir Baseer Ahmad Khan said.
His comments came in the wake of the chaos ensued by speculations that are active since last Friday.
For instance, the paranoia in the valley was fueled on Sunday when a report of strict curfew being imposed in various areas surfaced on social media.
During the same time, a fake statement attributed to the Army Chief further exacerbated the situation. The statement claimed that “a decision over Kashmir situation will come in next 48 hours.”
Similarly, the rumour of Shabir Shah’s injury and death in Tihar jail too made rounds on social media further aggravating the existing situation.
On Monday, the rumour of DC office Srinagar being shifted triggered panic with the office receiving many phone calls from the aggrieved people.
In order to deal with the unrestricted rumour mongering in the valley, the administration has issued directives to deputy commissioners of every district.
“Some elements are bent upon disturbing peace for vested interests and people should not get carried away by their nefarious designs,” the Divisional Commissioner Baseer Ahmad Khan said, adding the rumours are “totally incorrect”.
“Public should not believe in rumours and should seek police help to verify information passed on through Whatsapp or social media. Such messages can be forwarded to us so that it can be verified. Those spreading rumours will be liable for punishment,” he cautioned.
The Divisional Commissioner said that he has given directions to the DCs asking them to deal sternly with anyone found guilty of spreading rumours.
“I will make sure that the miscreants instigating the rumours will be booked under relevant laws,” he said.
DC Srinagar Shahid Chowdary said: “The other day a journalist called me up and asked whether we have issued the curfew passes for the media people. I was surprised to hear this query. No orders of curfew have been given. It’s all hoax aimed to trigger panic among people.”
“We are trying to track down the miscreants and will nab them soon,” he said.
Governor Satya Pal Malik too has appealed people not to believe in rumours of any extreme nature which are circulating widely in some quarters and to remain calm.
“These rumours are unnecessarily creating an atmosphere of fear in the minds of people, leading to stress and disruption to normal life. Rumours about curfews and other actions should not be believed. There is some security related action being taken by the forces, but this is purely related to the Pulwama attack which is unprecedented one,” he said.