The Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) police have been at the forefront in the fight against terrorism in the newly formed union territory but there are modern challenges. Kashmir has been grappling with a lot of fake propaganda on social networking sites following which the Cyber Cell has swung into action. taking as many as 300 profiles under its radar while many have been called for questioning.
The J&K police have also been rescuing people from cyber frauds and an amount of Rs 50 lakh have been recovered to date. A majority of such type of propaganda that takes place on social networks has its roots in Pakistan. After the revocation of Article 370, internet was shut in the valley and that gave rise to a number of propaganda profiles that run from across the border.
Now a majority of these videos that possess a threat to political activists, while other can lead to Law and Order problems, have origin in Pakistan and Pakistan Occupied Kashmir.
There are cyber labs at Srinagar that monitors social media 24x7. Here young IT experts track, monitor, and counter fake identity cases. Cybercrime has emerged as a big challenge for law enforcement agencies in the valley with Pakistan attempting to take advantage of social media platforms.
In a recent incident, a fake profile of IG Kashmir, Vijay Kumar was made on Facebook, and the pictures that were taken from his profile was shared from them. Even friend requests were sent to many Journalists from the account.
Officials say cyber teams have ensured that propaganda videos to provoke youth are stopped and those attempting to disseminate them are held. Thousand-plus handles have also been disabled who was using a fake identity to create chaos in Kashmir. The man behind this is Tahir Ashraf, who has worked hard to deal with such cases.
"Many accounts are operated from not only Pakistan but other countries as well which try to propagate things to disturb the peace. Through different methods, we trace them. There was a handle who posted something which could've created communal tension, we took help from platforms and deleted them," says Tahir Ashraf, In-charge Cyber police, Kashmir.
”There are many hackers, sometimes it's easy to crack an account. IG Account was created, it was a Haryana user and we have taken it with Haryana police.“
Since the action was initiated in various cases across the valley for creating law and order issues, it worked well for the security forces. It was seen that after the encounter, videos of encounter sites were made viral and people were asked to assemble next to the sites, which now has completely stopped. A lot of people were detained with regard after which no such incidents took place.
Stone Pelting was also one major problem for the security forces to tackle and many WhatsApp groups were responsible for the stone pelters to get together. Dozens of WhatsApp groups were taken down by the cyber cells which were directly involved in these incidents.
"Cyber policing is also one reason that has reduced violence near encounter sites. We keep an eye on handles and websites which could result in law and order problem or someone who appreciates someone for joining terrorism. I think this has resulted in the reduction of violence," Tahir says.
"It's a collective effort of the security forces, we are in a continuous process to deal with it..."