The National Investigation Agency (NIA), which has been given the mandate by the Central government to break the backbone of the Kashmiri separatist groups, who have been working on the directions of Pakistan’s ISI, has identified at least 110 “professional stone pelters” who had received money in the range of Rs 2,000 to Rs 800 per day to carry out stone-pelting and express the “anger of the local Kashmiris” on the Indian Army.
As per the NIA’s investigation, some of the financiers of these stone pelters are functioning from New Delhi. One of them owns a hotel, while the other one has a real estate business in the city. The stone-pelters have been categorised into “Categories A, B and C”, depending on their skills and their ability to bring in more stone pelters.
“The stone pelters are in direct touch with the top leadership of the Hurriyat. We have collected enough technical evidence to prove this. We have also found (after the NIA raided the Hurriyat leaders and the subsequent interrogation of some of them) that close to Rs 300 crore was being pumped into the valley every month to fuel the protests. The main route of bringing in this huge amount is through hawala and “donations” for medical and religious reasons. “The ring leaders of these stone pelters receive daily instructions from their handlers across the borders,” an official from the agency, who is involved in the operation, said. The investigation has also revealed that functionaries of Hafiz Saeed’s Lashkar-e-Taiba, on the orders of the ISI, handle these Srinagar based ring leaders. As per the agency officials, these stone pelters get paid on a monthly, weekly and daily basis, depending on their “seniority”. An “A” category stone pelter gets Rs 2,000 per day, B category gets Rs 1,000 while the “C’ category gets Rs 800.
“A physical test of the prospective stone pelters is taken before he is enrolled. A daily report is sent by the ring leaders to their handlers in Pakistan and after that only the payment is received. The report contains videos, news reports of the stone pelting, injuries caused to security personnel, vehicles torched, media coverage received, etc. The whole thing is systematically organised,” the official said.