Protection money: How Hurriyat played the role of an underworld in Kashmir
It would not be entirely wrong to call the Hurriyat Conference as the underworld of Kashmir. The Hurriyat which finds a place in the chargesheet filed by the National Investigation Agency relied on protection money practise to raise funds to foment both terror and unrest in the Kashmir Valley, the chargesheet states.
Money was collected by the Rukuns of the Hurriyat. The Rukuns are the core team of the Hurriyat which went about threatening businessmen and apple growers in the Valley for funds. The chargesheet filed by the NIA states that they would collect anything between Rs 5 and 10 lakh and if anyone failed to cough up the amount, they would be threatened with dire consequences.
The Hurriyat divided itself into various wings. Planners, strategists, stone pelters, fund raisers and logistic managers. The NIA explains that this helped the Hurriyat plan and also stage the violence in the Valley.
In the 12,000 plus page chargesheet, the NIA states that these wings of the Hurriyat would plan and strategise on how to keep the Valley on the boil. While the Rukuns would collect protection money, there would be planners who would with the approval of Pakistan instigate students and the youth to indulge in violence.
Another interesting modus operandi that came to light during the probe was the roping in of students. The Hurriyat would meet thousands of students and recommend to them that they should complete their education in Pakistan. The target was primarily on those who wanted to pursue engineering, medicine and technocrats.
The Hurriyat would then recommend to the Pakistan High Commission the names of these students. Based on the recommendations over the past few years thousands of students have been given visas in Pakistan to study.
The NIA learnt that this was a nexus between the ISI, Hurriyat and the high commission officials. The ISI would insist that thousands of students are sent to Pakistan to study.
The NIA says that this was done so that the students develop affection towards Pakistan. Such persons especially the educated class would then be used to brainwash the youth in Kashmir into believing that their future lies in Pakistan.