Amid reports that over a dozen Facebook account-holders, allegedly involved in abusing and intimidating teenage members of Kashmir’s first all-girl band Pragaash, had been identified and quite a few of them had fled the Valley, the Srinagar police on Thursday arrested three youths. They have been remanded in police custody for eight days.
Authoritative sources associated with the investigation told The Hindu that the police got the three youngsters — Tariq Majid Khan of Sher-e-Kashmir Colony, Anantnag; a teenage student of Baba Wayil, Gutli Bagh (Ganderbal); and Irshad Ahmad Chara of Sheikh Dawood Colony, Batamaloo (Srinagar) — arrested in a series of raids. The sources said the arrests were made on the basis of electronic intelligence collected by the Cyber Crime Cell (CCC), telecommunication and data intercepts, and intelligence provided by different wings of the Jammu and Kashmir Police.
Scanning the call detail records and the Internet activity carried out through data cards of some Internet service providers, the CCC is believed to have identified at least 12 of the suspects. A middle-ranking police official said three of the suspects, who were wanted on the basis of the revelations made by the three detainees, were not traced anywhere at their residences and other possible hideouts. They were believed to have escaped outside the Valley. He said that, if necessary, the police would dispatch various teams to get all the suspects arrested.
Officials said the three detainees were produced before II Additional Munsif in the Srinagar Sadar Court. They claimed that the entire operation was being supervised by senior police officials and carried out according to the law. They also said inaction for two days was the result of a discussion as to whether or not the police should invoke Section 66A of the Information Technology Act.
Sources said none of the three detainees had a history of involvement in electronic, cyber crime, or routine crime.