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India
26 Jul 2017

Pak-based terrorists used WhatsApp to mobilize Kashmiri youths

By examining information on 28 WhatsApp groups, the National Investigation Agency has unearthed crucial details about Pakistani funding of terror activities in Jammu and Kashmir.

Many creators, admins and members of the groups were found to be based in Pakistan. Some have known links to Hafiz Saeed's Jamaat-ud-Dawah.

NIA detected the groups while analyzing social media activity of "habitual" stone-pelters.

In context

Kashmir: Mobilizing anti-national activities through WhatsApp

How exactly WhatsApp helped in organizing stone-pelting activities

Messages about ongoing anti-terror ops would be circulated, like how "your brothers have been cornered". Details of the encounter location would be shared. "The idea is to mobilise the local youth for stone-pelting at the encounter site so that terrorists can escape," said an officer.

28 WhatsApp groups reached about 5,000 members, mostly Kashmiri youths

Details

28 WhatsApp groups reached about 5,000 members, mostly Kashmiri youths

The reach of those groups was expansive: all combined had around 5,000 members, majority of whom were Kashmiri youths. Several numbers were traced to Pakistan.

"Some numbers also show up in JuD posters, confirming JuD link to J&K (stone-pelters)" who are allegedly paid by Hurriyat separatists, an investigator said.

Circulated messages include religious posts, updates on ongoing encounters and updates on militancy.

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Findings

48 paid stone-pelters already identified, more expected

NIA has identified 48 Kashmiri youths through the group who were seen pelting stones at three encounter sites in the last year.

Their call records show frequent contact with lower and middle-level Hurriyat leaders. Their social media profiles also showed sympathy with terrorists.

At least a dozen arrests are likely. The probe is expected to eventually uncover top leaders involved in mobilizing anti-national activities.

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