J&K: Kishtwar Cleric Held For Espionage

KISHTWAR/JAMMU | Updated: 03 September, 2022 1:20 pm IST

A Muslim cleric was arrested by the Kishtwar Police on Friday for passing information related to the deployment and movement of security forces to a terror outfit controlled from Pakistan.

Identified as 22-year-old Abdul Wahid working as a ‘Molvi’ (cleric) and a Qari (Urdu teacher), the accused assisted and passed sensitive military information to a lesser known terrorist organisation ‘Kashmiri Janbaz Force’, as per the police.

The input regarding his activities was generated by military intelligence (MI) and further developed by the State Investigation Agency (SIA).

Wahid, a married man belonging to a middle-class family, came in contact with his Pakistani handler Tayyab Farooqi alias Umar Khatab over Facebook in December 2020, he told a joint team of the police and the SIA on August 26 this year.

Khatab introduced himself to the accused as ‘Amir’ (commander) of Kashmir Janbaz Force (KJF) and tasked the latter with uploading propaganda content related to the outfit on the social media platform, he told authorities.

Subsequently, they started communicating on WhatsApp wherein the Pakistani handler used a Pakistani contact number starting with +92.

Wahid became an active member of the Facebook and WhatsApp groups of KJF supporting their anti-national activities in the digital domain. He even offered to join KJF as a terrorist.

“Later, Wahid started communicating with a few other unknown cadres/supporters of KJF and/or likely Pakistani Intelligence Operatives (PIOs). They all have tried luring the accused by offering him money, a new phone etc,” the police said in a statement.

Subsequently, he was provided with a few virtual-number-based WhatsApp accounts to communicate with his handlers. He was instructed to keep his phones clean and change his devices frequently.

Wahid was also asked to motivate local Kashmiri youth to join the terrorist ranks.

He had sent locations of nearby Army camps and training locations of Army personnel to his Pakistani handlers, hence making these locations and personnel vulnerable to targeted terror attacks, the police said.

He has been booked under relevant sections of CrPC and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in Kishtwar.

With his arrest, certain targeted terror attacks on security forces in the Chenab Valley region and possible recruitment of youth into KJF have been averted with his arrest, the police believe.

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