The Jammu & Kashmir police finally managed to identify a prankster within its ranks who had kept the entire security establishment on tenterhooks with a message that he had disseminated on WhatsApp and posted on Facebook.
The message read: "March 15 celebrated as Police Strike Day against the government. The police top brass has advised all police officials to participate in the strike legally or illegally to fight for justice (sic)."
Members of the 65,000-strong J&K police force were unnerved by the message as several cops began discussing it among themselves.
On February 23 a police first information report (FIR) under Section 505 of the Ranbir Penal Code and Section 66A of the Information Technology Act was filed against an unidentified suspect in Srinagar. A special team was set up to solve the case immediately and track and arrest the suspect or suspects.
However, the police force, which thought the prank to be the handiwork of antisocial elements, had to cut a sorry figure.
"It was a constable of the Indian Reserve Police's 6th Battalion who posted the message," said a senior counterinsurgency cell officer who later cracked the case (the officers are not allowed to reveal their names).
The constable admitted to playing the prank but insisted it was without any malicious intention. He told the police he had been unhappy with discrepancies in the salaries being paid to members of the Jammu & Kashmir constabulary.
After a reprimand and a rap on the knuckles, the constable was let off.
Meanwhile, the police has a major campaign through the electronic media, including popular FM channels, to dissuade people from creating fake accounts on social networking sites.
The cyber police cell, which is handled by Kashmir's counterinsurgency unit to keep an eye on anti-India groups and handles, puts inviting female fake accounts and impersonation as major crime prevalent in the valley.
"There is also a significant number of fake accounts of anti-India groups," said a police officer.