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300 WhatsApp groups used assemble stone- pelters at encounter sites in Kashmir

Around 300 WhatsApp groups were used to assemble the stone pelters in Kashmir to disrupt the security forces at encounter sites .Of these groups, now 90 percent of them are shut down, an official said.

Each of these 300 Whatsapp groups had around 250 members, the official said while explaining how determined attempts were being made to disrupt the operations of the security forces by mobilising stone-pelting mobs at the encounter sites.

“We identified the groups and the group administrators, who were called in by police for counselling. We have had a good response to this initiative,” he said on the condition of anonymity.

In the last three weeks, more than 90 per cent of these Whatsapp groups have been shut down, the official said.
He said the government’s policy of suspending internet services appeared to be showing positive results in curbing stone-pelting during encounters and cited the case of yesterday’s encounter in Budgam district.

Just a few youth gathered to hurl stones after two militants were gunned down in the encounter yesterday.

This was in sharp contrast to an encounter in Durbugh village in the same area on March 28, when a large number of stone-pelters had assembled and three of them were killed in firing by security forces.

“With no internet services, the mobilisation of mobs has almost become impossible. Earlier, we would see youth from as far as 10 kilometres from the encounter sites joining the protesters to pelt stones at security forces to disrupt the anti-militancy operations.

“That did not happen yesterday during or after the encounter in the absence of internet on mobiles,” the official said.

He said some of the youth listed personal issues like alleged harassment by security forces as reasons for taking to stone-pelting.

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