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Updated: February 21, 2010 18:17 IST

Govt plans tough action to check stone pelting ‘industry’

PTI
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A LUCRATIVE BUSINESS? A Kashmiri protester throws stones towards a police vechile during a protest in Srinagar. Photo: Nissar Ahmad
A LUCRATIVE BUSINESS? A Kashmiri protester throws stones towards a police vechile during a protest in Srinagar. Photo: Nissar Ahmad

The Government is planning tough action against some businessmen whose role has come to the fore for alleged funding of stone pelting ‘industry’ in the Kashmir valley.

After stern action against pelters recently by the State government, the last Friday was possibly the first one when no stone pelting incident was reported in the entire valley.

Earlier police had arrested a person — Irshad Ahmed — alleged to be the kingpin of stone-pelter in Kashmir valley, during which the police claimed to have found documents which suggested that stone pelting had fast turned into a lucrative ’business’ for unemployed youths who offered their ‘service’ for a price to some political parties and separatists.

Highly-placed sources said that over a dozen people had been interrogated so far during which it was found that some businessmen dealing in kerosene, carpets and pesticides were allegedly funding the stone pelting incidents in the valley.

“Separatists want the pot to remain boiling while some political parties do it for creating unrest in the State,” a senior government official commented.

Police have launched a massive drive against stone pelters in the valley and their investigation has led to recovery of dozens of SIM cards, threat letters, fake press identity cards, cheque books and well maintained account registers which state the expenditure for stone pelting incidents in various parts of the valley.

The registers contained names along with their photographs and mention the details of money paid to them for their stone-pelting activities in the last one year in downtown city, the sources said.

Several youths, picked up, were found operating ‘stone pelting’ cartels funded by the separatist organisations and some political parties, the sources said, adding business worth lakhs of rupees is usually generated through this activity.

These groups are paid a hefty amount ranging between Rs 5 to 8 lakh, they said, adding a part of this money is handed over to another group known as “initiators” who pick up stones and start pelting at police and para-military forces — sometimes on trivial issues.

The groups, which are alleged to have been receiving funds from a political party as well, have stationed their people in various localities and other districts of the valley, the sources said.

This could be the reason for stone-pelting incidents occurring in a synchronised manner throughout the valley during agitations and protests, they said.

Adding to the woes of policemen were protesters making use of stones and building material kept by government agencies on roads for construction activities, the sources said.

The Government should ensure completion of work within a time frame as otherwise these materials would come handy for the stone pelter, they said.


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