Kashmir: 300 WhatsApp groups used to mobilize stone-pelters

24 Apr 2017 | Written by Abheet Sethi; Edited by Shikha Chaudhry

Nearly 300 WhatsApp groups were used in Kashmir to mobilize stone-pelters to disrupt encounter operations by security forces, a police official said on condition of anonymity.

As many as 90% of these groups, which had around 250 members each, have been shut down by police over the last three weeks.

Police add that suspending internet services during encounters is helping curb stone-pelting.

In context: Kashmir: Unrest, stone pelters and banned internet

24 Apr 2017Kashmir: PDP leader killed, fresh protests in Srinagar

Hours after PDP Chief Mehbooba Mufti met PM Modi over the Kashmir crisis, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leader Abdul Gani Dar was shot by unidentified assailants in Pulwama. He succumbed to his injuries in hospital in Srinagar.

Meanwhile, fresh protests and clashes have broken out in pockets in Kashmir.

In Srinagar several college students clashed with security forces, but no casualties were reported.

24 Apr 2017Kashmir: 300 WhatsApp groups used to mobilize stone-pelters

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Police tracked down WhatsApp group admins, gave them "counselling"

"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," a police official said.
Suspending internet services in Kashmir curbs stone-pelting

DetailsSuspending internet services in Kashmir curbs stone-pelting

The official said the government's policy of suspending internet services during encounters prevents potential stone-pelters from mobilizing.

He used the example of Durbugh village in Budgam district, where on March 28, security forces killed three stone-pelters after a large number of them gathered.

By contrast, an encounter on April 22, which left two terrorists dead, attracted very few stone-pelters.

Why?Suspended internet causes businessmen hardships

The inability to stay connected online is bringing hardships to Kashmiri businessmen.

"Today, the business depends on internet for communication. I am into stock markets and I have had no business since the mobile internet services were withdrawn on Monday," Mudasir Bhat said.

One contractor said he was unable to submit a tender document as he couldn't go online for its e-filing.

27 Apr 2017Facebook, WhatsApp, 20 other social media sites banned in Kashmir

Twenty-two social media platforms including Facebook and WhatsApp have been banned in Kashmir for a month or till further orders, allegedly as they were being misused to spread violence.

This comes a week after the government banned 3G and 4G services on mobile.

Though internet was suspended in Kashmir earlier too, this is the first time social media sites have been banned