Nidhi Razdan from NDTV was caught spreading a dangerous narrative about Kashmir all over again that only helped Pakistan. This time, about thee Hazaratbal shrine and the supposed ‘restriction’ imposed on the Eid Milad prayers. Nidhi quoted a fellow journalist and claimed that it is perhaps the first time that “prayers have been restricted at the Hazratbal shrine in Srinagar”.
One can only pray that there is peace, that Kashmiris can soon have the same rights as other Indian citizens like full communication, right to prayers, and democratic activity with the release of political leaders who are still detained
— Nidhi Razdan (@Nidhi) 10 November 2019
She made the tall claim that Kashmiris are not being allowed to pray and are being denied full communication.
Soon, Nidhi was countered by several people who posted videos of thousands of people congregated at Hazaratbal shrine to offer prayers on the occasion of Eid-Milad-un-Nabi.
A section of Indian media ran a disinformation campaign that prayers were not allowed by Indian security forces at the Hazratbal shrine in Srinagar on Eid Milad yesterday. Guess, who is using this fake news the most? Pakistan. Now check this & see for yourself what the truth is. https://t.co/lMuJjqUrZV pic.twitter.com/5q8Z5FJcWS
— Aarti Tikoo Singh (@AartiTikoo) 11 November 2019
Even Shahid Choudhary, who is the District Magistrate of Srinagar posted photographs of the Eid-Milad-un-Nabi prayers being offered and several people congregated to see the holy relic which is considered to be the hail of the Prophet of Islam.
— Shahid Choudhary (@listenshahid) November 10, 2019
Her explanation was equally astounding. Nidhi said that she had referred to restrictions without claiming that people were not allowed to pray. However, in her tweet, it is evident that she editorialised a sensitive situation to claim that Kashmiris do not have the ‘right to pray’ unlike other Indian citizens.
You forgot to tag @PTI_News @IndianExpress @the_hindu @thetribunechd who all reported restrictions on entry of people from outside the immediate neighbourhood. I also quote tweeted a newspaper report. No one said prayers were not allowed. https://t.co/xfyBJiTnUx
— Nidhi Razdan (@Nidhi) 11 November 2019
The claim by Pakistan and several media channels were that ‘all roads leading up to the shrine were sealed’. However, if thousands of people were praying in the shrine, that claim seems incorrect. There were, however, reasonable restrictions on large crowds congregating at the shrine, however, even the Supreme Court has held that the government is well within its rights to place reasonable restrictions.
In fact, the tweet quoted by Nidhi has a Tribune India link embedded that quotes the District Magistrate of Srinagar saying that “Restrictions in many parts of the city were made on Saturday in wake of the Ayodhya verdict”. In the wake of the Ayodhya verdict, several parts of the country were under restrictions including parts of Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. One obviously doesn’t see Nidhi mentioning these facts when she insinuates that there was a deliberate, almost malicious attempt on the part of the authorities to ensure Kashmiris cannot offer prayers.
The narrative being peddled is rather simple – that such restrictions have been imposed in Kashmir for the first time. Nidhi too claims that it is perhaps the first time that prayers have been restricted at the Hazratbal shrine. However, that is far from the truth.
Even a cursory Google search will reveal that this is not the first time such restrictions have been imposed.
Earlier too all roads leading up to the Hazratbal shrine and Jama Masjid were also closed fearing clashes. In 2016 too, during Eid, people from adjoining areas were not allowed to congregate at Hazratbal. And this is just one of the incidents.
Kashmir is a disturned area mainly due to Pakistan sponsored terrorists and deep-rooted Islamic radicalisation in the area. It is no secret that governments throughout the decades have imposed restrictions in Kashmir, whether it is communication, media or even congregating for prayers.
What Nidhi Razdan essentially does is further the Pakistan narrative that it is only after the abrogation of Article 370 by the centre that Kashmir has been in a state of strife and earlier, it was peaceful without any restrictions that were imposed or any tension. In fact, Pakistan would like people to believe that Kashmir was peaceful earlier because the abrogation of Article 370 has only dampened Pakistan’s nefarious plans in Kashmir.
With regards to the current news, Pakistan Foreign Ministry in a statement on Sunday made a false claim that all roads leading to the Hazratbal shrine in Srinagar and other holy shrines and mosques in Jammu and Kashmir were sealed to stop any procession on this auspicious occasion. While this was patently false, the same narrative being peddled by several elements in the media including Nidhi Razdan only furthers the cause of Pakistan against India.