Top security sources said the Centre is determined to deal with this ‘technological menace from across the border’.
New Delhi: Just days after Union home minister Rajnath Singh informed Parliament about how Pakistan-based groups were using social media to instigate stone pelters in Kashmir, investigations by intelligence agencies have revealed that operatives of Hafiz Saeed’s Jamaat-ud Dawa and Pakistan’s ISI have floated as many as 18,000 accounts on Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter to foment trouble in the Valley.
Top security sources said Centre is determined to deal with this “technological menace from across the border’’ and has directed intelligence agencies, even at the state-level, to ascertain if access to these accounts on social media can be blocked and launch a counter propaganda campaign using the same platforms. Most of these accounts on social media being managed to by JuD operatives are said to be fake or proxy in an attempt to conceal the real identity of their users.
The home ministry has also decided to further upgrade the cyber cell of J&K police with a view to check misuse of social media by Pak-based terror operatives. Intelligence agencies are already exploring the possibility of how such accounts can be blocked to ensure that public, at least in the Valley, does not gain access to them.
“Our agencies are examining all technical options to ensure that this menace is neutralised. If need be, we will also get in touch with these specific sites with a request that their platforms are not used for terror activities and such content can be blocked at their level. We have concrete information that militant groups and ISI operatives are effectively using social media to step up terror activities in the Valley,’’ a senior intelligence official remarked.
The home minister had informed Parliament a few days ago how Pak-based groups would immediately take to social media in wake of a security operation directing people to gather in large numbers and resort to stone throwing on security personnel with a view to help militants.
Some of these social media accounts, sources added, are being managed through proxy servers which gives the location of the user in some other country and not Pakistan. But technical experts in intelligence agencies have been able to ascertain that all these accounts are in fact being managed from across the border and mostly in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK).
``Now that our agencies have zeroed down on these accounts and have a fairly good idea from where and who are operating them we are working on technological support to see how these can be blocked. The cyber cell of State police is also going in for a major revamp and their staff would also be specially trained to check misuse of internet for terror activities,’’the official added.