New Delhi: The government is contemplating legal action against media outlets for reporting fabricated and baseless news relating to developments in Jammu and Kashmir.
Highly placed sources in the Ministry of Home Affairs said that legal notices could be served to media outlets if they are prima facie found projecting "fabricated and provocative" stories, leading to disturbance in the law and order situation in the sensitive Valley region of Jammu and Kashmir.
Attributing "facts" to foreign news agencies, a few local media outlets including a prominent English news website, have claimed that Valley has been witness to a large scale protest and violence on Friday.
The media outlets, quoting a foreign TV news channel have said that police resorted to pellet gun attacks, injuring several local residents in Srinagar. However, Jammu and Kashmir Police denied any such attacks or firing by the security forces.
Earlier, prominent Pakistan news daily Dawn went to the extent of claiming that over 10,000 people have gathered in Srinagar staging a protest over revocation of special status granted to Jammu and Kashmir.
Subsequently, one of the news websites based in New Delhi quoted Dawn, in its apparent bid to project a scary picture of a worsening law and order situation in the Valley.
The Ministry of Home Affairs then issued a statement that "news report originally published in Reuters and appeared in Dawn claims that there was a protest involving 10,000 people in Srinagar. This is completely fabricated and incorrect. There have been stray protest in Srinagar/Baramulla and none involved a crowd of more than 20 people".
Such fabricated news also appeared in social media which eventually led to rumour mongering in some pockets in Jammu and Kashmir where communication was partially restored for sometime.
Police deny firing incident
Jammu and Kashmir police on Saturday denied media reports of firing incidents in the valley, and urged people not to believe "mischievous and motivated news".
J&K Director General Police Dilbag Singh in a video said: "The police have not fired a single bullet so far in six days. People should not believe any mischievous and motivated news regarding firing incidents in the valley."
Dilbag Singh also said that prohibitory orders were lifted from 10 districts in Jammu.
"10 districts in Jammu are free of any restrictions. Only five towns in Jammu have some form of restriction on them. Those will be removed gradually as well, Dilbag Singh said.
Inspector General (IG) of Police, Kashmir, SP Pani, in a separate video said: "This is to clarify some international media reports, regarding firing incident in the valley, the report is wrong.
"No such incident has taken place in the valley. The valley has remained largely peaceful over the last one week. We would appreciate media agencies to act responsibly," he said.
Imtiyaz Hussein, a J&K police officer, tweeted a video from his Twitter handle, showing pictures of the Lal Chowk, Dal Lake area, Batmaloo, Jehangir chowk, Ganderbal, Baramulla and Pulwama areas. While the shops were closed, many people were on the roads going about their daily chores.
Restrictions were imposed into the Valley, hours before the Narendra Modi announced revocation of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution (which grants special status to J&K).