A series of stings reveal how stone-pelters in Jammu & Kashmir operate, who pays them, & what all they’ve done in the state to create anarchy & carry out anti-national activities.

Farooq Ahmad Lone is a stone-pelter who was caught on camera confessing that he gets paid for throwing stones at the Army. To the question of how much payment does he get for pelting stones, he answers it can be Rs.1000, 2000, 3000, or even Rs.5000. Also, the stone-pelter confesses to getting anywhere between Rs.500 to Rs.700 for making a single petrol bomb.

He says he himself hurled petrol bombs at a vehicle that led to two people being burnt alive who were J&K policemen. He also confesses to bombing a concrete bridge. This was done in 2014 after Afzal Guru was hanged. In the sting, he refers to terrorist Afzal Guru as ‘Shaheed’ Afzal Guru.

He says he even gets clothes & shoes at times for his activities. For Rs.5000-7000, he pelts stones for the whole time the strike goes on in the area.

Wasim Ahmad Khan is another of those who tries to sabotage Indian Army operations through vandalism. He says he’s pelted stones at the armed forces, MLA’s, ministers & their aides. He proudly says that he’s even been jailed in 2009 for a complete year. But his anti-India actions don’t just involve pelting stones. He says he’s even set vehicles on fire, & not vehicles of common people, but those of the police, Army & ministers.

He reveals that he’s paid around Rs.5000-6000 for pelting stones for one month. This pelting is done primarily in Baramulla & Sopore.

Mushtaq Veeri is questioned by the reporter about the number of armed forces personnel, policemen, MPs & MLAs that he’s injured in his stone pelting. And without a shred of remorse or guilt, he answers “at least 30 to 35”. He says he’s also been charged under the Public Safety Act (PSA), & was jailed for 6 months. He was imprisoned in the Baramulla jail in May-June 2012.

He wears a mask to begin the interview with which he soon removes. He says he wears it because he’s afraid as he’s a stone-pelter, who’s obviously wanted by the armed forces. The reporter asks him where all he’s pelted stones, to which he says he’s done so at many places. He’s pelted stones at the cars of ministers,& the army.

He says there’s a man who pays him (doesn’t disclose the identity) anywhere between Rs.400 to 700 for one day’s stone-pelting. On Jumma, he says they even get up to a thousand rupees.

The reporter asks how much money do children get, to which Ibrahim Khan – another stone-pelter – reveals it can be around Rs.7000-7500 for a month if the boy has a good physique. If the boy is weak & short in height, he gets around Rs.5500-6000. Children up to the age of 12 are also used in stone-pelting & are paid around Rs.4000.

WhatsApp groups have been created through which information about stone-pelting reaches these people. The directives are clear about who to pelt. The pelting is done in Baramulla, Sopore, Khoj Bagh& even Srinagar. Ibrahim receives around Rs.10000-12000 a month. The rates are also different for people & varies according to their experience.

These people aren’t simply ‘innocent’ beings who do it for money. If it were so, they wouldn’t call Afzal Guru a martyr. It clearly shows what their ideology is & what motivates them to disrupt anti-terrorist operations.

The government both at the state level & at the centre must look at this with all seriousness, & aim at finding a long-lasting solution. And all this while, the safety of our armed forces should be of paramount importance.


Vinayak Jain

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