Representational image of a J&K Police barricade | File photo: PTI
Representational image of a J&K Police barricade | File photo: PTI
Text Size:

Srinagar: Nearly 300 social media accounts are under scanner for allegedly being part of a group that indulges in cyber bullying in Kashmir, ThePrint has learnt.

Senior officers in the cyber unit of the Kashmir Police Friday said they are in the process of identifying the individuals who have been operating those social media accounts, and had summoned at least four persons to its Srinagar headquarters last week for questioning.

SP Tahir Ashraf, in-charge, Cyber Police, said 10 more individuals have been identified and will be summoned for questioning soon.

As a result of the investigations, Ashraf said, several of the 300 social media accounts had been deactivated by those operating them but the police have managed to secure screenshots and other online details of the accounts.

He also said the “cyber bullying” was not based “on political lines”.

Talking about the modus operandi of the group, Ashraf said: “We have been receiving many complaints of targetted harassment and threats. There is a group, which identifies one individual and collects all data about him/her. The data is sent to all members of the group, which coerces their target to post something on social media. If the target doesn’t agree, they are branded Indian stooges or Indian agents. The group has both girls and boys in it.”

Ashraf said the cyber unit has received more than 50 such complaints.


Also read: J&K Police to trawl social media posts slamming domicile law, act if there’s ‘instigation’


‘Coordinated online attack’

The officer said the group operates under various names.

Asked if individuals with a certain political ideology are the ones being targetted, he said: “It is a coordinated online attack and not on political lines.”

Ashraf added that while these 300-odd profiles are mostly on Twitter, there are also 4-5 websites on their radar. 

“A lot of these Twitter accounts have been deactivated but we have details and we will be reaching out to them,” he said.

According to SP, the crackdown on the group was the culmination of a two-month operation run by a team of at least eight policemen led by an officer. 

Ashraf said no cases have been filed yet, but investigations are under way.

Some activists in the Valley have, however, called the crackdown a “political witch hunt”.

Speaking to ThePrint, human rights activist Khuram Parvez, who is the coordinator of the Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society, said: “Normally, the job of the cyber police is to crack down on cyber crimes. Crimes like online fraud are rampant and how many such cases has the police been able to solve in the last three years or specifically three months?”

He added, “Truth is that the police is more political than any other political party and they want to assert their politics by force. This questioning and summoning of people is part of that political witch hunt.”


Also read: J&K approves new media policy to create ‘sustained’ govt narrative, thwart fake news


 

Subscribe to our channels on YouTube & Telegram

Why news media is in crisis & How you can fix it

India needs free, fair, non-hyphenated and questioning journalism even more as it faces multiple crises.

But the news media is in a crisis of its own. There have been brutal layoffs and pay-cuts. The best of journalism is shrinking, yielding to crude prime-time spectacle.

ThePrint has the finest young reporters, columnists and editors working for it. Sustaining journalism of this quality needs smart and thinking people like you to pay for it. Whether you live in India or overseas, you can do it here.

Support Our Journalism

VIEW COMMENTS