The NIA on Tuesday arrested two “notorious stone-pelters”, one of whom is a freelance photojournalist, in connection with its terror funding case against Kashmiri separatists. The two indulged in stone-pelting and mobilised support against security personnel through social media, the NIA has alleged.
An NIA spokesperson identified them as Javed Abdul Bhat from Kulgam and Kamran Yusuf from Pulwama in south Kashmir. Describing them as “notorious stone-pelters”, the spokesperson said they would be produced in a Delhi court on Wednesday.
This is the first time the NIA has arrested people allegedly involved in stone-pelting incidents. These are also the NIA’s first arrests from south Kashmir since filing a case on May 30 in which the leader of Pakistan-based Jamaat-ud-Dawa Hafiz Saeed was named as an accused.
According to the NIA, Bhat is unemployed while Yusuf is a photojournalist who takes pictures of stone-pelting incidents and sells them to newspapers. NIA sources said they were involved in stone-pelting incidents besides organising groups of youths who would throw stones at security personnel involved in counter-insurgency operations.
The officer added that the duo were among 40 youths identified by the NIA who have been regularly indulging in stone-pelting and organising youths to disrupt security operations. They have been identified through numbers associated with 128 WhatsApp groups the agency found to be active in organising disruptions in the Valley. Sources said the two accused also circulated on social networking sites pictures and videos that sparked rumours in the Valley. The NIA has arrested eight people in the case of alleged funding of terror and subversive activities in the Valley to fuel unrest.