A couple of days ago,there was a rumour floating in Kashmir that the LED bulbs which were being distributed under the Government's Ujala scheme was fitted with surveillance equipment. Another rumour floated that a telecom company was distributing free sim cards to the people of Kashmir which was also fitted with surveillance equipment.
The basis of the rumour was a video that was prepared and circulated on several chat groups. Many people, especially in Tral started breaking the bulbs and also throwing away the sim cards.
Now the cat is out of the bag. These rumours were spread by competitors. A few persons in Kashmir who were selling LED bulbs at Rs 200 plus saw their business dip drastically as a result of the Ujala scheme. Under this scheme, LED bulbs priced at Rs 250 were being sold at Rs 20.
With their business hit hard, some dealers decided to make a video and circulate it on the social media. It caught the attention of the people of the state and they stopped buying the bulbs. Many even broke the bulbs in their homes thinking they were being snooped on.
The sim card rumour too was started by a competitor, officials say. After an encounter with two local militants, it was found that they were using the free sim card that was distributed by a particular company. The rumour said that these sims had surveillance capabilities.
However, now officials have clarified to the people that these were just rumours. It is not just difficult, but not feasible to have such expensive surveillance equipment fitted into all bulbs and sim cards, officials explained, following which, the rumours died down.