A National Investigation Agency (NIA) probe into the incidents of stone pelting has revealed that WhatsApp was used by certain groups and this led to the stone-pelting activities. The NIA has identified 117 suspects who allegedly led those groups while many of these groups have administrators based in Pakistan, as per The Indian Express. The investigator has also identified 79 WhatsApp groups that are allegedly used to spread messages and gather crowds, The IE report said citing sources. The central investigation agency has been investigating these cases in the Valley for six months.
According to a source, 6,386 phone numbers were found part of these WhatsApp groups. While around 1,000 of these numbers were found active in Pakistan and Gulf nations. The remaining 5,386 numbers were active in various parts of the Valley and neighbouring states, as per IE report. The newspaper source also said, to zero-in on these suspects, a team of undercover NIA officers infiltrated these groups. Investigators used technical surveillance, GPS and satellite imagery to keep a track on the suspects.
Whatsapp groups like “valley of tears”, “pulwama rebels”, “daftare surat auliyan sophiyan”, “FrEEdom FigHtErz”, “Tehreek E Azaadi123”, “Mugahideen-a-Islam”, “Al Jahad” are under the scanner of the investigation agency.
The probe also revealed that most stone-pelters operated in a 25-30-km radius of their homes. The probe has also identified four major sources of funding for “anti-national elements” across the Valley. These sources includes barter trade at the border, admission of Kashmir residents on medical seats in Pakistan colleges as per a set quota of seats allocated to various separatist leaders, through pilgrims, and through hawala transactions, the report said.