New Delhi, July 26: Pakistan-based terror groups are using WhatsApp groups to incite youths for stone pelting in Jammu and Kashmir, revealed probe conducted by the National Investigative Agency (NIA) in terror funding probe. The NIA found at least 28 WhatsApp groups, whose creators or administrators are based in Pakistan, that are provoking youths to pelt stones at security forces and disrupt anti-terror operations in Kashmir. Some of the WhatsApp group admins have been identified as members of terror outfit Jamaat-ud-Dawah, headed by Hafiz Saeed.

The WhatsApp groups, spreading terror in Kashmir, together have 5,000 members, of which majority are local Kashmiris. A significant number of group members are linked to Pakistani mobile numbers, found the NIA investigation. The NIA also tracked the messages coming into these WhatsApp groups and found that the groups receives updates on militancy and ongoing anti-terror operations.

“We have identified Pakistani numbers in the WhatsApp groups. Some of these numbers also show up in JuD posters and publicity material, confirming JuD link to the J&K youth who regularly pelt stones to disrupt ongoing anti-terror operations, allegedly on payment arranged by Hurriyat separatists,” an investigator told Times of India. The motive behind these notorious WhatsApp groups is to mobilise the local youth for stone-pelting at the encounter site so that the terrorists can escape, the officer said.

On Monday, seven separatist leaders were arrested by NIA on charges of taking funds from Pakistan to sponsor terror activities and stone pelting in the Kashmir Valley. Six of the separatist leaders were arrested from Srinagar on Monday and later flown to Delhi. Farooq Ahmad Dar was held in Delhi. They have been booked on charges of criminal conspiracy and waging war against India.

The NIA said it had credible information that Hafiz Mohammad Saeed Amir of Jammat-ud-Dawah and other separatist leaders, including Huriyat Conference members, were acting in connivance with militants of Hizbul Mujahideen, Dukhtaran-e-Millat and Lashkar-e-Taiba and other groups to raise funds in India and abroad through illegal channels to fund terrorist activities in Jammu and Kashmir. They entered into a larger conspiracy to wage war against India, it said.