Kashmiri separatist leaders are quick to give clarion calls to the state's youth to pelt stones and take up arms against the Indian establishment. Except, that call is not for their own sons and daughters, for whom, in most cases, they have fixed comfortable lives -- well away from the cauldron they have created in Kashmir -- in India, Pakistan, London and elsewhere.
As OneIndia reported recently, while Kashmir was burning, separatist Asiya Andrabi's son was chilling out with friends in Malaysia. She's not the only separatist leader who preys on gullible youth in Kashmir, and now even on migrant Bihari youth, for their political ends, while building cosy lives for their families. [Separatists have taken Kashmir back to Stone Age]
The likes of Hurriyat Conference chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani or Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front chief Yasin Malik are no different, either.
A Valley of Hypocrites
The 86-year-old Geelani's elder son Nayeem and daughter in law, for instance, are doctors in Rawalpindi, Pakistan; his second son Zahoor lives in New Delhi, daughter Farhat is a teacher in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and grandson Izhaar is a crew member with a private airliner in India. Why are none of them fighting Geelani's fight?
Recently, when Geelani was desperate to go to Saudi Arabia but had problems renewing his passport, the man who professes undying love for Pakistan filled in his nationality as 'Indian' without batting an eyelid. A mere matter of convenience, perhaps.
Yasin Malik, married to risque Pakistani artist Mushaal who specialises in painting "raw beauty of the feminine mystique", has a daughter, Raziyah Sultana, who is too young to be fighting her father's fight. Time will tell if she ever does, but given Malik's record of hypocrisy, it is unlikely.
During the 2014 floods in Kashmir, the Indian Army rescued Malik, only to be then abused by him when he staged a public drama on television throwing away aid material and challenging the Indian Army.
Trade Route to ISI Money
That's not all. These separatist leaders rake in huge monies, mostly from Pakistan's ISI. Their job, in return, is to keep the Valley on the boil and thwart Indian attempts to resolve the Kashmir problem with Kashmiris.
In 2011, a Hawala operative called Hira Lal was arrested by Indian authorities. Picked up from a hotel in Srinagar, Hira Lal told interrogators that he had been tasked with handing over funds to the separatists and he had passed on Rs. 3 crore to the Lone brothers.
Investigations revealed that Hira Lal was passing on fake currency, too, that was to be used to keep the separatist movement going. The money had come from the Pakistan High Commission in Delhi. What better way than to 'fund' a fake movement with fake currency!
The investigating agency also found that the ISI had hired businessmen in Punjab to move hawala money into Kashmir, monies that were used to finance the Lashkar-e-Taiba. These businessmen were getting money from across the border in the guise of trade along the Line of Control.
Between 2009 and 2011, when such money moved in freely via hawala channels, Pakistan pushed in some Rs. 340 crore, paid off to separatists and the LeT, an Enforcement Directorate probe found.
Rupees, Riyals, Dollars and Pounds
The Home Ministry report, based on reports from multiple agencies, is a startling read. The report names 50 persons for misusing the LoC trade route to move hawala money. These persons collectively sent out money to the tune of Rs 80 lakh in one installment. In another installment, some Rs. 31 lakh was handed over to a Hizbul Mujahideen operative in the Valley.
The agencies have questioned over 90 people in these cases and have found that money was also being channelized through Saudi Arabia and Europe to fund the separatists. A raid yielded Rs. 1.4 crore, 75,000 Saudi Riyals, and some 4,500 Pounds from two places.
In 2012, 10 persons were arrested and Rs 9.9 lakh was recovered from them, once again money that was enroute to the separatists. Those arrested included members of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference, Kashmir Mass Movement, People's Conference, Democratic Freedom Party, JKLF and Islamic Students Front.
Members of terrorist groups Hizbul, Lashkar, Al-Umer, Tehreek-e-Mujahideen and Jaish-e-Mohammad were also part of the gang that was arrested for circulating money in the Valley.
The strongest case that was made out by the agencies was against Geelani, who has been getting these funds since at least 1996. As per the report, he has got funds from various channels amounting to nearly Rs. 20 crore from Saudi Arabia and Rs. 10 crore from the Kashmir American Council respectively.
The investigation showed that he had been channeling money to Hizbul, a fact corroborated by his aide Ghulam Mohammad Bhat.
Bhat, who was questioned by the agencies in 2011, revealed that Pakistan had sent in at least Rs 4.5 crore to be paid to create problems in the Valley between 2008 and 2011.
Yasin Malik was named as far back as 2002 by a woman called Shazia Begum, who was picked up by Indian agencies while she was on her way to hand over $10,000 to him.
During the investigation, it was found that this was one part of a large sum that was being transferred to Malik. He is alleged to have collected some $300,000 from ISI sponsored NGOs in America soon after making a fund-collection trip to the US in 2001.