Terror funding: NIA continues raids in Kashmir

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The National Investigation Agency (NIA), probing alleged terror funding cases in Jammu and Kashmir, continued their raids in Kashmir with residences of four businessmen associated with cross-LoC trade searched on Sunday.

Sources said NIA sleuths assisted by J&K police and paramilitary CRPF carried out raids at the residences of four businessmen in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district early Sunday. All the four were engaged in cross LoC trade, which stands stalled after India banned it following February 14 terror attack in Pulwama, in which over 40 CRPF men were killed, they said.

A senior police officer in knowhow of the developments, said the central anti-terror probe agency has definite clues that a good part of funds generated by the businessmen from cross-LoC trade had gone into the hands of militants, separatists and stone-pelters at the behest of Pakistan and leadership of Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) and Hizbul Mujahideen outfits.

Pertinently, the cross-LoC trade between divided parts of Kashmir began in October 2008. Between 2008 when the barter trade started, till the end of 2016, according to NIA estimates, Pakistan supplied about 34,000 trucks via Uri route worth Rs 2,000 crore while India has sent 22,000 trucks worth Rs 1,900 crore. This gap of Rs 100 crore, the NIA suspects, was used to fund militancy and stone-pelting activities in the Valley.

Last week NIA sleuths carried out raids at the premises of two traders involved in cross LoC trade. The raids were carried in south Kashmir’s Pulwama and Srinagar districts.

The anti-terror probe agency is investigating cases related to terror funding in Kashmir through hawala channels. The agency has carried out a series of raids on separatists, their sympathisers and some businessmen in the last more than two years. 

The agency claimed to have recovered several incriminating documents, including letterheads of different terrorist organisations as well as high-end communication systems, during these raids.

During the investigation conducted so far, the NIA has charge-sheeted 13 accused, including Lashkar-e-Toiba founder Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, Hizb-ul-Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin, seven-second rung separatist leaders, two ‘hawala’ conduits and some stone-pelters.

The crackdown by the NIA on alleged terror funding to separatist leaders and their sympathisers has caused a significant dent into their activities in Kashmir. Incidents of street protests, violence, local recruitment of youth into militancy in Kashmir have reduced drastically this year compared to previous years due to the “effective” action of security forces and probe agencies against separatists and their sympathisers.

While most of the separatist leaders, including pro-independence JKLF chief Yasin Malik, have been put behind the bars by the NIA in alleged terror funding case, the activities of Hurriyat hawk Syed Ali Geelani and moderate Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq have also been curtailed. Geelani’s son-in-law Altaf Ahmad Shah alias Altaf Funtosh and Mirwaiz’s trusted lieutenant Shahid-ul-Islam are in Tihar jail since July 2017.

Even the chairperson radical Dukhtaran-e-Millat (Daughters of Faith), Asiya Indrabi along with her associates Fehmeeda Sofi and Nahida Nasreen were also arrested and put behind the bars in Delhi’s Tihar jail. Recently the NIA attached Andrabi’s house in Soura on the outskirts of Srinagar.

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