June 2017 News

Security Forces In J&K Now Battling 'bedroom Jihadis'

2 June 2017
Times Now


Srinagar: Security agencies, who have been battling armed militants in the Kashmir Valley till date, are now faced with a new challenge - 'bedroom jihadis' - a term being used for those who try to instigate and manipulate the youth via social media. It's a new battleground and a new battle, senior officials say. These new age jihadis use computers and smartphones to wage war from just about anywhere - in Kashmir or outside, safe inside their homes or out on the streets, from a nearby café or even just a convenient roadside. Armed with access to platforms like WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter, there are fears that the new version of jihadis could propagate tension in the Valley ahead of the Amarnath Yatra - the 40-day pilgrimage to the high altitude shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva. 'It is a virtual battleground where a bloody war is fought, but with words. However, this has an impact on the young minds,' said a senior police officer. 'Anyone, while sitting on his bed or sofa, can plant this news in one of the thousand chat groups and the entire state can plunge into communal divide,' another police officer added. The social chat groups are not just active in Jammu and Kashmir. They are seeing participation from youngsters in the national capital, rest of the country and abroad as well. The social media shut down in the Valley was perhaps put in place to stop such 'bedroom jihadis.' Authorities had clamped down on around 22 websites and though many users in the Valley tried to find a way out through Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), the shutdown of mobile internet services ensured that it was difficult for them to share pictures or videos that could prove to be instigative. The state government has received much criticism for the clampdown on internet services, but security agency officers believe that it is necessary to keep such 'bedroom jihadis' at bay. The government has warned administrators of these chatting groups or social networking sites against hosting any incriminating material on their platform. However, officers felt that a few more measures and punitive action would help in reining in these 'bedroom jihadis'.

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