India and Pakistan's diplomatic war on scrapping Jammu and Kashmir's special status has taken an ugly turn over into the cyber world. Which has led to a rise in fake social media accounts of Indian army officers.
A senior officials in the security apparatus told the Hindustan Times, that at least 50 Twitter accounts masquerading as personal handles of senior generals and commanders including Chief of Army Staff General Bipin Rawat, Northern Army Commander Lieutenant General Ranbir Singh “highlighting alleged atrocities” in Kashmir were shut down at the request of the security agencies.
According to the Hindustan Times report, a fake Twitter handle of a serving colonel serving in Jammu and Kashmir allegedly said that, “In the past 6 days at least 69 of my Indian soldiers have been killed in unprovoked fire by Pakistan Army.” Similarly, another fake account of former Directorate General of Military Operations (DGMO) Lieutenant General Vinod Bhatia said, “according to my intelligence report there is more than 700 Kashmiri has been killed thousands of women were raped there is completely blackout, school colleges are closed. Shame on Us.” Likewise, the Twitter handle of former Vice Chief of Army Staff Devraj Anbu said the removal of Article 370 was a big mistake. Interestingly, even a fake account of Lieutenant Colonel Shrikant Purohit, who is an accused in Malegaon blast case, has a tweet against the establishment.
Another senior official monitoring the cyber world told the Hindustan Times, “An analysis shows a clear trend, some of these fake accounts posted normal humdrum stuff on and off. The credibility of the people behind the accounts ensured an organic growth in the number of followers. An account of serving colonel opened in July 2019 gathered over 1500 followers. After, August 5, these handles tried to saturate the environment with messages about atrocities in Jammu and Kashmir and Article 370.”