As the government is probing into the cases of alleged terror funding against the separatist in Kashmir, the National Investigation Agency is currently building a strong case against the stone-pelters in the Valley. As per an Indian Express report, the agencies believe that it could be a comprehensive move to strike the networks accused of creating unrest in the region. The NIA has so far has identified as many as 28 conspicuous Whatsapp groups through which the youths in the Valley are said to be organised and directed for stone-pelting on Indian Army. The agency is also look deep into the issue to find out the moderators of these groups. As per estimates, around 7,000 youths are part of these groups who pelt stones are the army as per moderators’ direction. All such groups are under NIA surveillance.
Not just this, the NIA has also found some scores of Facebook pages which are allegedly used to instigate unwanted activities in the region. Speaking to Indian Express, a senior NIA official said, “We are gradually building evidence against them. All of them will be booked under charges of inciting violence.” The report also stated that the development is a marked departure from the policy adopted by both the Central and the state government against stone-pelters in Kashmir. Currently, the local police is barring crowd-control actions and is largely focusing on detaining these stone-pelters and councelling them.
Home Ministry sources told Indian Express that the approach has changed under the new regime and Central agencies have been given a free hand by the Union government to deal with separatists and stone-pelters as required. Sources from the NIA also stated that the investigation against the stone-pelters is far easier to that of terror funding against separatist. “Legal action that is taken to logical conclusion would act as a bigger deterrent to stone-pelters than merely crowd-control measures,” an officer told Indian Express.
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During the investigation, sources said that the agency is mainly collaborating all the electronic evidences that would be irrefutable in the court of law. “Unlike terrorists, these troublemakers do not use proxy servers to post online messages or make untraceable secret groups. Most of the electronic evidence is out in the open. It just has to be forensically established. After that, conviction would be easy to get,” the officer added further.
Giving a track of the progress of the investigation so far, the NIA said it has seized more than Rs 2 crore cash, gold jewellery worth nearly Rs 40 lakh, a large number of property-related documents, letterheads of banned terrorist organisations such as the LeT and Hizbul Mujahideen, several pen drives, laptops, mobile phones and other incriminating documents, including phone diaries, kachcha receipts, vouchers, were seized from the financiers, hawala operators, and office-bearers of separatist groups. Bank accounts and lockers revealed during the course of the investigation have been ordered frozen, it added.