4 youth arrested in Kupwara: OGWs or held for Facebook posts?

Police Say They Were Radicalising Youth; Families Deny Charge, Seek Their Release

AMIN MASOODI
Kupwara, Publish Date: Jan 16 2018 12:42AM | Updated Date: Jan 16 2018 12:42AM
4 youth arrested in Kupwara: OGWs or held for Facebook posts?

Police today said they have arrested four Over Ground Workers (OGWs) who were allegedly involved in radicalizing youths in Kupwara district to join militant groups. 

However their families denied the charge saying the youths were not involved in radicalizing the youths towards militancy but had made some comments on the social media. 

Citing recent amnesty granted to stone-throwers to bring back the ‘misguided youth’ to the mainstream, the relatives said police could have let them off after giving a warning. 

Terming the arrest of “OGWs” as a major success, a senior police officer said that the timely action saved many youths from “falling prey to nefarious attempts by the accused” while two youths “radicalised by the OGWs were saved from joining militant ranks.” 

“Their timely arrest is a major success as they would have radicalised many gullible youths had they not been nabbed. During sustained interrogation, they admitted that their handlers in south Kashmir had assured them full financial support for radicalising the youths towards militancy,” Shamsher Hussian, SSP Kupwara told reporters.

“The OGWs were planning to send the radicalised youths for arms training to south Kashmir and across the Line of Control. A special team of police last week nabbed them from different locations following a specific tip off,” he added. 

However the district police chief did not identify two youths, who were allegedly radicalized by the accused but were saved from turning to militancy. 

Police identified the arrested youth as Rashid Bashir Pir son of Bashir Ahmad Pir of Kunan Poshpora, Zakir Amin Pir son of Muhammad Amin Pir of Alaichizeb, Saif-ud-din Khatana son of Maher din Khatana of Wogbal and Manzoor Ahmad Najar son of Muhammad Sultan Najar form Nagri.

The relatives of the youth demanded their release. 

“He is a minor and by mistake posted some comments on Facebook. The government recently announced amnesty for stone-pelters to bring them back to the mainstream,” said relative of one of the accused, requesting anonymity. 

“Police could let him off by giving him a warning to refrain from posting such comments on social media in future. Booking a minor could ruin his future,” he added. 

According to police, last year 17 youths “radicalized by the OGWs were saved from turning to militancy in the district. Four OGWs were arrested under Public Safety Act.”