To curb the menace of stone pelting in the Kashmir valley, security agencies have resorted to a new strategy to identify and arrest the stone pelters: now they will be in mufti (without uniform) to mingle with the pelting mob.
With the change of guard at the top of the police force, the new police chief has instructed the special task force of the police to deploy its men in civilian clothes so as to identify and arrest the instigators of stone-pelting.
"Several men of the special force were deployed at the vulnerable places in the old town on Friday, following which two hardcore stone pelters were identified and arrested," a senior police officer told Republic requesting not to be named.
He said that this new strategy of the police will help the forces in two ways as in civil clothes, the policeman will not be identified, and secondly, even if the stone-pelters are not arrested on the spot, they can be arrested later.
Stone-pelting in Kashmir, especially after Friday prayers, has become a major law and order problem in the Valley and security forces have tried and tested various methods to curb it.
To minimise loss of life, security forces had also introduced non-lethal pellet guns, but the new strategy is believed to bring about the much-needed change.
"The stone-pelters won't be able to trust the man standing next to him, thus they would feel a bit hesitant. This move, we believe, will prove to be a deterrent and we hope it will bring down stone pelting" the officer said.
Security agencies have held Pakistan responsible for instigating stone-pelting in the Kashmir valley and in the past the National Investigation Agency (NIA) too has conducted several raids and busted the trail of funding from across the line of control (LoC) that was aimed at funding stone pelting in Kashmir.
"Pakistan is pumping money through various channels in the Kashmir Valley to keep the cycle of violence on. In the past, we arrested several people who were instigating stone-pelting in the valley" the officer said.
Security agencies say that for Pakistan, the youth of Kashmir are expendable commodities and they don't care about their lives, they just want the pot to keep on boiling, but the Indian agencies want the youth to join the mainstream.
"If we shoot at the stone-pelters it would serve the purpose of our enemy country. They want to keep the pot boiling, hence we adopted this new strategy to identify and arrest the youth. If they are not hardcore stone-pelters they will be released after counselling and a warning, but if they are hardcore they will face the law of the land" the officer said.
The officer added that they are keeping their fingers crossed with the hope that the new strategy will help curb the menace of stone-pelting on the valley.