About time: Why the Hurriyat Conference must be banned with immediate effect
New Delhi, Aug 23: A decision on whether or not to ban both factions of the Hurriyat Conference is currently awaiting a decision at the highest levels. There is every possibility that a ban under the stringent provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act may be imposed on both factions of the Hurriyat, which is at the forefront of the separatist movement in Jammu and Kashmir.
A recent probe learnt that the granting of MBBS seats to Kashmiri students by institutions in Pakistan clearly indicate that the money being collected from the students being used to fund terrorism in the Valley.
Whether or not to ban the Hurriyat has been a subject matter of debate for long. The fact is that a lot of money was being by the State on the Hurriyat. The debate on whether to use the tax payer's money to guard the Hurriyat leaders who promote separatism and terrorism has also been debated.
In 2018, it was reported that security cover was being provided to separatists based on security categorisation as decided by the State Security Review Coordination Committee (SSRCC). The data available suggested that Rs 10.88 crore was spent on the security of separatist leaders, including moderate Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, and former chairpersons Abdul Gani Bhat, Moulana Abbas Ansari and others.
A sum of Rs 10.36 crore was spent on the salary of the policemen guarding and protecting the Hurriyat and other separatist leaders, while Rs 49.7 lakh had been spent on the fuel for the vehicles used for escorting the separatist leaders.
Rs 19.51 lakh was provided on the salary of the guards/escort of Mirwaiz in 2017-18. Besides, Rs 77.37 lakh was spent on the guard's salary that year.
Since 2008-09, Rs 1.27 crore has been spent on the salary of the guards and escort personnel of Mirwaiz. Similarly, Rs 5.06 crore was spent on the guards' salary of Mirwaiz since last 10 years.
Security of former Hurriyat chairman Bhat has cost the state exchequer Rs 2.3 crore in the last 10 years. Similarly, Moulana Abbas's security has cost state Rs 3 crore since 2008-09.
In 2019, the NIA while probing a terror funding case listed 12 properties belonging to Yasin Malik. The properties, which are also in the name of his relatives is valued at around 15 crore. Among these properties is a mall at Srinagar, NIA officials say.
The NIA has also probed the manner in which money was being routed to the separatists through hawala channels.
Investigation revealed that Zahoor Ahamad Shah Watali is one of the main hawala conduit who used to generate and receive funds from Pakistan, ISI, UAE and had floated various shell companies to disguise foreign remittances for further transfer to separatist leaders and stone pelters in the valley.
These funds were used to fuel unrest in the Kashmir valley and organise violent agitations and anti-India activities which resulted in large scale violence leading to numerous injuries and deaths of civilians and security forces.
Malik revealed that he was instrumental in bringing together the disparate factions of Hurriyat Conference and formed the Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) which spear headed the violent agitations in 2016 in Kashmir Valley by issuing "Protest Calendars" leading to economic shut down for over four months and also caused death and injuries to civilians and security forces during the violent protests.
Malik admitted during questioning that the JRL and Hurriyat Conference Gilani Group collected funds from business community as well as certain other sources and ensured that economic shut down and violent protests continue to disrupt the daily life of common citizens in the valley.
Asiya Andrabi admitted before the NIA that she had been collecting funds and donations from foreign sources and the Duktaran-e-Milat had been organising protests by Muslim women in the valley. Asiya Andrabi was confronted with evidence regarding funding of educational expenses of her son in Malaysia from 2011 onwards through foreign remittances made by Zahoor Watali.