J&K police crackdowns on 'keypad jehadis' who spew venom on social media to create unrest

The Jammu and Kashmir Police have registered cases against five Twitter handles and filed complaints with service providers against misleading posts on Facebook and WhatsApp.

 J&K police crackdowns on 'keypad jehadis' who spew venom on social media to create unrest

Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir Police are identifying the 'keypad jehadis' who spew venom on social networking sites to try and create a law and order situation in the state.

The police have registered cases against five Twitter handles and filed complaints with service providers against such misleading posts on Facebook and WhatsApp so that necessary action is taken at the earliest, news agency PTI quoted officials as saying. 

The officials added that a communication had been sent to the micro-blogging site for providing details of the Twitter handles so that punitive action could be initiated at the earliest as it would help in reining in what is called 'keypad jehadis'.  Police have laid special emphasis on monitoring the social networking websites and also various groups created on messaging services like WhatsApp, Telegram and similar such tools available on the Internet, they added.

The officials further said that post-2016, the misinformation campaign from some groups was at its peak with each party trying to project an incident for their political goals which had a potential of pushing the state to communal clashes. "We have passed on several complaints to the Computer Emergency Response Team-India (CERT-IN) for blocking several pages on Facebook and Twitter," officials said, as per the news agency, adding that many SIM cards which were used to spread canards on messaging services like WhatsApp have been blocked with the help of the service provider.

There have also been instances of circulation of photo-shopped pictures of ordinary civilians as militants whereas the unknown victim would have been attending his daily duties. "We had many such cases including the one in Ganderbal where a picture of a shopkeeper was circulated with an assault rifle as having joined a militant group. On inquiry, we found that he was selling his groceries and one of his business rivals had played the mischief. A case was registered under relevant sections of Information and Technology act and the accused was arrested. It is a virtual battleground where a bloody war is fought, but with words. However, this has an impact on the young minds," a senior police official said

Meanwhile, in order to fight terrorism in the Valley, the security forces are also focusing on finding new recruits and motivate them to return to their families. The strategy of police and security agencies is to cut the "umbilical cord" by smashing the overground worker network, which is instrumental in radicalising youth and pushing them to jihad.

"Our effort is to catch them alive and understand their grievances. After all, a 15 or 16-year-old boy can't be brainwashed to the extent that he would like to be killed in a gunfight. There has to be a counter-narrative," a senior official, engaged in counter-insurgency operations, was quoted as saying by PTI.

"In the last seven months, four new recruits have been arrested while one returned... My director general of police (SP Vaid) has also appealed to misguided youths and so I am asking them to return to their families," Inspector General of Police (Kashmir range) Swayam Prakash Pani had said.

Hardcore terrorists like Saddam Paddar, Esa Fazl and Sameer Tiger have been eliminated in recent times by the security forces. Officials have said that operations based on specific intelligence inputs will continue, but there will be also be increasing emphasis on catching newly-recruited terrorists alive.

(With Agency inputs)