Police on Friday arrested a person, alleged to be the kingpin of stone-pelters in the Kashmir valley, and claimed to have found documents which suggest this has fast turned into a lucrative ‘business’ for unemployed youths offering their ‘service’ for a price.
Police had launched a massive drive against stone-pelters in the valley and their investigations led to a house in Bemina colony on the outskirts of the city after which they found several documents suggesting his involvement in stone-pelting business for nearly last two years, official sources said here on Friday.
The arrested person identified as Irshad Ahmed was interrogated by the police and they recovered 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 first register contained 294 names along with their photographs and mentions the details of money paid to them for their stone-pelting activities in the last one year in the downtown city, the sources said.
Police claimed to have recovered sketches of roads leading from Ganderbal to Leh, a route used by the Army personnel to maintain essential supplies to Ladakh division, they said.
Business worth lakhs of rupees is estimated to be generated through this activity.
Separatist groups, especially those owing allegiance to Pakistan-terror outfit Hizbul Mujahideen and Lashker-e-Taiba, are alleged to have formed several groups comprising a minimum of dozen people, sources in the interrogation team said.
These groups are paid an amount ranging between Rs five to eight 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 on police and paramilitary forces.
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.