Terror check: Of rumours and reality on Ground Zero

December 1st, 2008 - 7:18 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Dec. 1 (IANS) Since the terrorists struck Mumbai and pounded its landmarks, several sensational reports appeared in the media. Many of them floundered during reality checks: *Troops-build up on India-Pakistan border: Many TV channels and websites reported a massive troops-build up by Indian and Pakistan army, giving the impression of a war-like situation between the two countries.

Fact: The situation is evolving, but as of Monday night there was no troops build-up on the border by either sides. These reports were first denied by India’s external afffairs ministry and later by the Pakistan Army.

*India-Pakistan talks break down: Many TV channels and websites reported that talks between India and Pakistan have broken down in the aftermath of the Mumbai terror attacks for which India has blamed elements in Pakistan.

Fact: Talks on the disputed Sir Creek - a narrow strip of marshland in the Rann of Kutch - which were scheduled for Dec 2-3 were postponed much before the Mumbai attacks. Indus Water Commissioners of India and Pakistan were holding talks in Islamabad Monday.

*India-Pakistan cricket series off: Reports said that India has suspended the tour of the Indian cricket team to Pakistan in January.

Fact: No official decision has been taken. There were serious anxieties about the fate of the cricket tour due to precarious security situation in Pakistan. These anxieties predate the Nov 26 attacks.

*National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan quits: Several channels said M.K. Narayanan had put in his papers and home secretary Madhukar Gupta and IB director P.C. Halder would follow suit for having failed to anticipate the Mumbai terror attack.

Fact: M.K. Narayanan had just met the prime minister Sunday afternoon, but the Prime Minister’s Office said he was not stepping down.

*Pakistan’s Army Chief coming to India: The media reported that the Pakistan army chief would visit India to share information on the attacks along with the ISI chief.

Fact: The army chief will not come. The Pakistan government denied any such proposal. But an ISI representative would come to discuss with India the attacks that have been blamed on “elements in Pakistan”.

Firing at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus: Rumours that fresh firing had been reported at the CST and the Reserve Bank, barely 800 metres from CST, sparked panic.

Fact: The police found after investigation that there had been no firing at CST. However, trains were stopped and people told to return.

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