Further to admittance , according to BBC, the home ministry’s statement on the Soura incident, vindicates the story done by them and other media that such a protest indeed took place.
International Media agency BBC has on 9th august 2019 released a clip of Police firing and large outcome protest at Soura in Kashmir
BBC and Al Jazeera both released videos that confirmed the Reuters’ story of a protest in Soura.
Unlike Reuters they did not put a number on the protestors present, the videos clearly showed that they were much more than the figure of 20 claimed by the government.
The government claims that “miscreants mingled with people returning home after prayers at a local mosque” and “resorted to unprovoked stone-pelting against law enforcement forces”.
According to a report in the BJP hailing Times group media in Economic Times the Modi government has accused the news organisations of “fabricating” news of the protests.
Upset at the Kashmir coverage in international media, the government has reportedly contacted organisations like Al Jazeera and BBC to provide the raw footage of the protest at Soura.
However bowing to International media leakage of information what is happening on Kashmir On Tuesday, 13 August, the Home Ministry admitted on its official Twitter handle that an incident did take place in Soura on Friday.
Modi Led BJP government of Home Affairs has taken a U-Turn of sorts on the protest that took place in Srinagar’s Soura area on Friday, 9 August.
This is different from the government’s statement on 10 August that no protest of more than 20 people took place anywhere in Kashmir. This was in response to Reuters’ story on the Soura protest, which claimed that around 10,000 people were present.
Now with the government itself admitting that such a protest did take place – though it disputes the scale – it remains to be seen what will happen to this exercise and whether the channels would be willing to share their raw footage.
What is clear, however, is that the government wants to control the flow of information on what is happening in the Valley, especially when it comes to the international community.
The official Twitter handle of the Indian mission at the United Nations in Geneva, tweeted a list of handles that should be followed for “authentic information from Kashmir”.
These were all handles of government functionaries, most importantly the District Collector of Sringar Shahid Choudhary and SSP Security Imtiyaz Hussain.
With means of communications blocked in the Valley and local media facing difficulties, much of the information is coming through these two handles.
Most of the videos and photos these two handles – particularly Imtiyaz Hussain – are posting, project a sense of ‘normalcy’ in Kashmir. In contrast, the news of protests are either downplayed or completely denied.
News of protests, particularly in the international media, might be embarrassing for the government as it seeks to project that the Kashmir Valley is happy about its decision to scrap special status for Jammu and Kashmir.
Late on Monday, a few land lines that were being used by local journalists to file stories, have also been disconnected by the authorities. Even postal services to Kashmir have been discontinued, curtailing communication to the Valley even further.
Meanwhile, there have been reports that Soura witnessed more protests even on Monday 12 August. According to a Srinagar-based journalist, protests took place in the area after Eid prayers on Monday.