IT was between July 20 and August 4 of 2019 that there were widespread rumours floating about in Kashmir. The social media platforms would drop bombshells one after the other. In certain cases, it was perhaps allowed by the then Jammu and Kashmir government with an intention to prepare the public for what could be termed as the aftershock of the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution Of India by virtue of which the erstwhile state, though on statute books, was enjoying a unique Constitutional position within the union of India. The rumours were intense and widespread. It was very interesting to observe that what was put on Facebook pages by less than ordinary people, would, however, turn out to be true when the government would come out with extraordinary orders which would shock and surprise one and all.
There were occasions when government orders would be circulated by social media users the moment the authorities would sign the same. That was an indication that the administration was deliberately leaking the orders so that people prepared accordingly for a long lockdown.
After August 5, 2019, the rumour mills suddenly but along expected lines, went into a silent mode; perhaps for the fear of reprisal and reprimand from the law enforcing agents.
However, since the last one week or so, the rumour mill has suddenly got activated. It is observed that the same old rumour mongers are putting one thing or the other on social media platforms. The only difference is that this time, the administration has no role in it. It is quite strange that people who were anti-establishment till four years ago, are now spreading rumours about change of guard, reshuffle in the administration and so on and so forth. There’s certainly something more to it than simply terming all this rumour-mongering. The anti-establishment section has deeply intruded the system. And there are elements within the system that influence the decision-making. There is absolutely no doubt about it. The people holding the reins of power may be serious in what is being termed as cleansing of the system. We need to understand how the adversary not only survives but continues to influence the decision-making even under unfavourable conditions. There is a methodology which they follow meticulously. They invest in winning your faith and confidence by applying the ‘more loyal than king’ formula. For that, they would initially give you some inputs, suggestions, even targets, against some of their own ideological buddies to win your confidence. Once you repose your faith in them and trust them, they go for an onslaught against their ideological rivals i.e., the people committed to the cause of the state. They would start a malicious campaign, indulge in character assassination, and so on and so forth.
Rumour mongering on the social media is a methodology. The rumour mongers are fed with information – right or wrong – by their acquaintances in the system. The motive behind taking to the social media platforms is to give an impression to the general public that they have access to the power corridors in an attempt to stay relevant and give hope to their own specie.