With a fusillade of controversial messages about military issues in Jammu and Kashmir on social media platforms throwing the army into a tizzy, the force has reiterated its advisory against sharing operational and administrative matters on social media.
Several messages and posts doing the rounds seem to suggest fissures between officers over conduct of operations, conflicting versions of encounters and attempts to steal credit.
The army said it was a “concerted attempt” by inimical elements to tarnish the force’s image by posting malicious content “based on half-truths".
The trend began after a military court awarded life sentence to five soldiers in the Machil fake encounter case and the Budgam incident in which two young boys were mistaken for terrorists and killed. The army had admitted Budgam killings were a mistake.
However, a WhatsApp message relating to the December 2 encounter at Tut Mari Gali (Nowgam sector) states the focus was more on Subedar Ajay Vardhan (who was killed) “and hence the valiant acts of four officers got left out". The army found the contents untrue.
Another message linked the Uri terror attack that left eight soldiers dead to the alleged restraint imposed on soldiers after the Budgam killings, claiming that soldiers did not open fire on terrorists who came in a vehicle. The message turned out to be fake, as the attackers had come on foot.
The army realises such messages could undermine the morale of soldiers who put their lives on the line every day to defend the country.
Army’s additional director general (public information) Major General Shokin Chauhan admitted that it was “difficult to track the origin of these messages".
Northern army commander Lieutenant General DS Hooda said the only way to counter (misinformation) was by “our own courage of conviction that what we are doing is professionally correct and honourable".