Srinagar: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has arrested a photographer and a farmer from Kashmir, identifying them as stone-pelters.
Kamran Yousuf, a photographer working for the the past couple of years and a resident of Pulwama, is one of the arrested. He contributes photos to the daily newspaper Greater Kashmir.
The other arrested person is Javaid Ahmad Bhat, a farmer from Khudwani area of Kulgam.
Confirming the latest development, NIA spokesperson Alok Mittal said, “We have arrested two persons from Srinagar on stone-pelting charges.”
Mittal said that the duo has been detained in Srinagar by the NIA. “If need be, and if the (NIA) officials deem it fit, the duo will be brought to Delhi for questioning,” he added.
Sources said that the duo was arrested on Monday.
When asked why the duo was not issued a summons before the arrest, Mittal said, “There was no need. The officials see whether there is any need to call anyone for simple questioning or to directly arrest them.”
He said that the NIA had issued summons to more than 30 other alleged stone-pelters. “(NIA) follows a criteria and if need be, we will arrest others (as well)… the case is still going on.”
He said that NIA has 180 days at its disposal to file charge sheet. “The date starts from the day of arrest and within 180 days the charge sheet has to be filed,” he informed.
The NIA filed an anti-terror case on May 30 this year against Hurriyat Conference, Hizbul Mujahideen, Dukhtaran-e-Millat and Hafiz Saeed.
Meanwhile, a news report on Tuesday said that the NIA has infiltrated more than 100 WhatsApp groups.
The NIA has identified 117 suspects who allegedly led stone-pelting groups of youths, using WhatsApp groups to spread instructions, The Indian Express reported today.
“Investigators have identified 79 WhatsApp groups that are allegedly used to spread messages and gather crowds. Many of these groups have administrators based in Pakistan,” the newspaper quoted an NIA source as saying.
As per the newspaper report 6,386 phone numbers were found part of the identified WhatsApp groups. Of them, around 1,000 were found active in Pakistan and Gulf nations. The remaining 5,386 were found active in various parts of the Valley and neighbouring states.
“A team of undercover NIA officers infiltrated these groups, and besides intelligence inputs, investigators used technical surveillance, GPS and satellite imagery to zero in on suspects,” the report said.