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Stone pelting and protests turn a business in J&K

Last Updated: Friday, February 5, 2010 - 20:01

Srinagar: Police on Friday arrested a person,
alleged to be the kingpin of stone-pelters in Kashmir valley,
and claimed to have found documents which suggest this had
fast turned into a lucrative `business` for unemployed youths
offering their `service` for a price.

Police had launched a massive drive against stone
pelters in the valley and their investigations led to a house
in Bemina colony on outskirts of the city after which they
found several documents suggesting his involvement in stone-
pelting business for nearly last two years, official sources
said here today.
The arrested person identified as Irshad Ahmed was
interrogated by the police which recovered dozens of SIM
cards, threat letters, fake press identity cards, cheque books
and well maintained account registers which state the
expenditure for stone pelting incidents in various parts of
the valley.

The first register contained 294 names along with their
photographs and mentions the details of money paid to them for
their stone pelting activities in the last one year in
downtown city, the sources said.

Police claimed to have recovered sketches of roads
leading from Ganderbal to Leh, a route used by army personnel
to maintain essential supplies to Ladakh division, they said.

Irshad`s arrest is expected to blow the lid off stone-
pelting business in the valley where some youths were
operating `stone pelting` cartels funded by separatist groups
and some political parties.

Business worth lakhs of rupees is estimated to be
generated through this activity.

Separatist groups, especially those owing allegiance to
Pakistan-terror outfit Hizbul Mujahideen and Lashker-e-Taiba,
are alleged to have formed several groups comprising a minimum
of dozen people, sources in the interrogation team said.

These groups are paid an amount ranging between Rs five
to eight lakh, they said, adding a part of this money is
handed over to another group known as "initiators" who pick up
stones and start pelting on police and para-military forces.
The groups, which are alleged to have been receiving
funds from a political party as well, have stationed their
people in various localities and other districts of the
valley, the sources said. This could be the reason for stone
pelting incidents occuring in a synchronised manner throughout
the valley during agitations and protests, they said.

Adding to the woes of policemen were protestors making
use of stones and building material kept by government
agencies on roads for construction activities.


First Published: Friday, February 5, 2010 - 20:01

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