Did Home Ministry just confirm BBC on its Srinagar violence video?


Days after slamming foreign agencies for false reporting, the home ministry on Tuesday finally admitted that the protests had indeed taken place in Srinagar last Friday.

home ministry

In a series of tweets, the ministry of home affairs spokesperson Vasudha Gupta wrote, “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.”

Its subsequent tweet read, “Law enforcement authorities showed restraint and tried to maintain law & order situation. It is reiterated that no bullets have been fired in #JammuAndKashmir since the development related to #Article370.”

Earlier, reacting to the BBC video, SP Pani, the Inspector General of Police, had released a video message denying the reports. He had said, “This is to clarify some international media reports regarding firing incidents in the valley, they are wrong, no such incident has taken place. Valley has remained largely peaceful over last 1 week.”

Nicola Careem, the South Asia bureau chief of the BBC, had taken to Twitter to post a video of the protest in Srinagar’s Soura area as she wrote, “Despite government saying reports of protests in Saura were completely fabricated, see exclusive BBC footage here for the truth. Thousands marched, police fired on protesters, dozens injured.” Careem had tweeted again minutes later to add, “Just to clarify this was shot yesterday at 1530 after Friday prayers in Soura in Srinagar in Indian administered Kashmir. We will be releasing the raw footage soon.”

The BBC had later issued an extraordinary statement defending its journalism. 

The latest U-turn by the home ministry is in sharp contradiction with a tweet posted by the ministry’s spokesperson Vasudha Gupta on 10 August, when she denied a report by news agency Reuters about 10,000 people staging a protest in Srinagar. Her tweet had read, “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.”

Reuters had defended its report and even the BBC video showed way more than 20 people taking part in various protests.