Kashmir Indepth

Pak’s misinformation campaign on Geelani’s health under security lens

Pakistan’s disinformation campaign about the health of nonagenarian separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani of the banned Jamaat-e-Islami J&K, who has largely been under house arrest in Srinagar since 2010, is being watched closely by the security agencies reported Hindustan Times.

North Block has asked Jammu and Kashmir Police and security establishment to prepare for a sudden surge of people in Srinagar and even anticipate violence. “An elaborate plan is in place to handle the situation,” said a senior official in the security establishment, who did not want to be named . Mobile internet services were suspended late Wednesday night in parts of Kashmir to prevent swirling rumours about Geelani’s health after some social media posts claimed that the separatist leader had died.

“Geelani, who suffers from several age-related ailments, is “stable”, although, his health has declined over the years,” said the official . “He is receiving medical attention and has been responding to treatment,” he added.

Hailing Geelani the “supreme leader,” and “lighthouse”, the Pakistan-based All Party Hurriyat (Freedom) Conference (J&K) issued directions the day before for Jamaat-e-Islami J&K volunteers in the valley on how to organise a mass attendance for his funeral service. The communication warns that curfew will be imposed and communication snapped. People have been urged to “rush towards the Eidgah Srinagar, where the funeral service will be held”.

The Conference wants the message to spread far and wide across the valley, even those living in the south of the Pir Panjal Range and Jammu. The separatist organisation urged volunteers of the Jamaat-e- Islami J&K to guide people from Pulwama, Kulgam, Shopian, Anantnag to converge at Panthachowk and move towards Dalgate, Nowhatta, Rajouri and Eidgah Srinagar. Similarly, volunteers have been sought from Budgam to be directed to Srinagar Eidgah via Hyderpora, Rambagh and Nalamar Road .

Pakistan-based Twitter and Facebook handles have been incessantly putting out messages about the death of Geelani to whip up sentiments in the valley. “Pakistan is trying to milk the situation to the best extent possible,” said a second senior official in the security establishment, who, too, did not want to be named. “All possible fallouts have been mapped and preparations made accordingly,” he added reported Hindustan Times.

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