Crackdown on Kashmir separatists: NIA registers PE into funding from Pak
The National Investigation Agency has registered a preliminary enquiry into the funding of Hurriyat Conference leaders, S A S Geelani, Naeem Khan and other. The NIA noted that funds were coming in from Pakistan to fuel the unrest in Kashmir and hence an enquiry has been registered.
The others against whom the enquiry has been registered are Farooq Ahmed Dar and Gazi Javed Baba apart from terrorists like Hafiz Saeed of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba. The money was sent to the separatists to carry out subversive activities in Kashmir, damage public property, stone pelting on the security forces, burning of schools and other government establishments.
The hawala menace is not new to the valley. In fact, investigations by various agencies including the National Investigation Agency show that hawala money has been the backbone for both terrorists to spread terror and the separatists who create the unrest. In most investigations it has been found that hawala money has reached both terrorists and separatists from abroad. The highest remittances have been from Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom and, of course, Pakistan.
Investigators say transfer of money through hawala is still the biggest draw. In November 2011, four businessmen were booked by the Enforcement Directorate for facilitating hawala transactions through the Line of Control. It had become evident that this money was being sent by the Lashkar-e-Tayiba to facilitate its terrorists and separatists.
However, investigations had found that the businessmen were only facilitating the transfer for a fee and were not ideologically connected to the LeT. The terror groups still find hawala to be their best bet since it is safer compared to legal banking. "It is very difficult to crack this trail as the persons involved in the transfer change after every two or three transactions," the officer says.
There is a lot of trade along the border that takes place on the barter system. Terrorists, separatists and their agents pose as traders and exchange money along the border. Very often, these persons also pass on money which is in turn brought into India and handed out to separatists and terrorists.
Investigations have shown that there were at least 48 agents until 2014 who were using the barter system to fund terrorism in the valley. The NIA and the ED had found that these persons had moved Rs 7.5 million in 20 different cases.
The seizures also led to the NIA finding cheques worth Rs 1 lakh which was meant to reach a terrorist or a separatist. The investigations also revealed that at least 90 persons from different parts of the world were involved in funding terrorists in the valley.
Investigations reveal that between the years 2009 and 2011 an amount of Rs 12 million had been recovered.
Fake and foreign currency was recovered from agents who were funding terrorists. In 2011, some agents had also brought in 74,000 Saudi Arabian Riyals into the valley.
NIA sources say that the funding has gone both to terrorist groups and separatists. Money has been pumped into the Hurriyat Conference, Jammu-Kashmir Liberation Front, Islamic Students Front, Hizbul Mujahideen, Jaish-e-Mohammad and Jamiat ul-Mujahideen.
An 1997 FIR against separatist Syed Ali Shah Geelani an FIR alleges that he had got funding to the tune of Rs 190 million from Saudi Arabia and also another donation of Rs 100 million from the Kashmir American Council. Investigations had revealed that all these funds were routed through a Delhi-based Hawala operative.
It was also found that Yasin Malik, another separatist, had received funding of USD 1 lakh and the money was being carried by a woman called Shazia. "We are looking at each case since 1995, and this will help us get a better picture of the entire racket," an NIA officer adds.