On August 10, BBC News had reported that thousands of protesters had taken to the streets in Soura, Srinagar against the government’s decision to strip Jammu and Kashmir of its special status. The media outlet claimed that it “witnessed the police opening fire and using tear gas to disperse the crowd. Despite that, the Indian government has said the protest never took place.” BBC Punjabi claimed that live rounds were also fired at the protestors.
Al Jazeera had also reported about the massive agitation in Srinagar where a large crowd defied government orders of a lockdown. The organisation said that the protestors were met with live fire, tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets.
According to Reuters, at least 10,000 had participated in the August 9 protest against the dilution of Article 370. The publication claimed to have spoken to a police source, an official source and eyewitnesses.
Soon after these reports, the Home Ministry put out a statement claiming that the news suggesting 10,000 people protested in Srinagar is “fabricated and incorrect” and only a “few stray protests” were carried out where “not more than 20 people” were involved.
A news report originally published in Reuters and appeared in Dawn claims there was a protest involving 10000 people in Srinagar.
This is completely fabricated & incorrect. There have been a few stray protests in Srinagar/Baramulla and none involved a crowd of more than 20 ppl.
— Spokesperson, Ministry of Home Affairs (@PIBHomeAffairs) August 10, 2019
The Home Ministry has now clarified that widespread protests indeed took place in Soura, Srinagar.
Stories in media on a said incident in Soura region of #Srinagar.
On 09/08, miscreants mingled with people returning home after prayers at a local mosque. They resorted to unprovoked stone pelting against law enforcement forces to cause widespread unrest.@diprjk @JmuKmrPolice
— Spokesperson, Ministry of Home Affairs (@PIBHomeAffairs) August 13, 2019
MHA’s clarification came three days after its earlier statement. By this time, the claim that news reports of the protests were “fabricated” had already become fodder for many – Republic TV, Retd Major Gaurav Arya, Mohandas Pai, Abhijit Iyer Mitra and OpIndia.