Kashmir’s Facebook Storm; Police Round Up ‘Miscreants’ as Terrorists Run Social Media Workshops

Kashmir’s Facebook Storm; Police Round Up ‘Miscreants’ as Terrorists Run Social Media Workshops
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What you need to know

Indian authorities are cracking down on fake social media accounts following allegations that the accounts are being used by militants based in Pakistan to incite unrest in the disputed Kashmir region

Police in Jammu and Kashmir are monitoring social media “miscreants and abusers” who have been posting images and videos of the police to threaten or discredit police and government officials in an online smear campaign, Hindustan Times reports.

Police identified and arrested a number of individuals who allegedly threatened authorities via social media. Authorities are now examining their phones and social media logs to see who else they have had contact with.

Video of a police officer stopping an ambulance carrying the body of a youth killed during an encounter between security forces and militants went viral on Facebook and Twitter, prompting the police crackdown.

Several police officers and government officials have been trolled online for using force against protesters in the region, The Hindu reports.

Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh has accused Pakistan-based terror groups of inciting Kashmir youths to pelt stones at security forces to help militants escape confrontations with Indian forces.

India and Pakistan have been engaged in territorial dispute over the Kashmir region since both countries gained independence in 1947. Kashmir acceded to India in 1948 on the condition Kashmir retain autonomy on all matters except currency, defense and foreign affairs.

In 1987, The Indian central government rigged elections in the Muslim-majority state, after which disenchanted Kashmiri youth and activists began joining militant groups which received arms and training from Pakistan. The groups mainly targeted Hindus and attacked government buildings. In January 1990, India imposed direct rule over Kashmir and began a campaign against the militants marred with human rights violations which included civilian massacres and shootings of unarmed demonstrators.

India continues to accuse Pakistan of training militants to fight in Kashmir. Former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf in 2010 said that the government “turned a blind eye” to force India into talks.

Some 17,000 social media accounts across Whatsapp, Facebook and Twitter are being used to “fool Kashmiris” with Pakistan propaganda, the Indian-based Asian News International reports.

Jamaat-ud Dawa (JuD), the political arm of the banned terrorist organization Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), is also promoting a “social media workshop” to teach people how to use social media as an “instrument for Kashmir Uprise 2k17” and “hybrid warfare.”

India claims the LeT is responsible for the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. The group is banned in Pakistan, the U.S., the E.U., India and Russia, but one of its co-founders, Hafiz Saeed, lives in a villa in Pakistan with police stationed outside. The U.S. has also put out a US$10 million bounty on his head. Saeed holds regular rallies in Pakistan, and the Pakistani government has run special trains to transport people to his rallies in Lahore. Zaki ur-Rehman Lakhvi, the leader of LeT and mastermind of the Mumbai attacks, was also released by Pakistan in December 2014.

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Editor: Edward White