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NIA crackdown on terror in Kashmir: Separatists receive funds from Dubai, London, says top aide

Amidst the National Investigation Agency (NIA) crackdown on terror funding in Kashmir, The Deccan Chronicle reports that besides receiving funds from Pakistan, leaders of All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) also received funds from outfits in London and Dubai. This information has been conveyed by Shahid-ul-Islam, a top aide of Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, leader of the moderate faction of the Hurriyat, and one of the seven separatists arrested by NIA.

Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq. PTI

File image of Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq. PTI

According to NDTV report, the NIA has seized a list of 150 terrorists in the Valley from Islam who also acted as the separatist conglomerate's spokesman, as reported by NDTV. In its first major crackdown on terror funding in Kashmir, the NIA arrested Islam in late July.

The agency said that during the searches, investigators found old photographs of Islam, including one with Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin. In another picture recovered, he is seen with other armed men, holding an AK-47 assault rifle. The NIA says that the other men could be terrorists.

According to The Hindu, the annual Haj pilgrimage could also be used to fund separatists. The newspaper reported that "the NIA is focussing on a hawala racket relating to the annual Haj pilgrimage".

Some travel agents who send Indians to the Haj pilgrimage seem to be hand-in-glove with the separatists' aides in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. Money collected from these pilgrims is then diverted potentially for terror and separatist activities.

An NIA official was quoted by The Hindu: “Some of these travel agents charge around Rs 2 lakh per pilgrim and purchase tickets as per the subsidy scheme of the government. Around Rs 1.5 lakh cash given by the pilgrims is pocketed by them and transferred to separatists. The pilgrims were taken care of during their pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia by associates of the separatists in Pakistan.”

Earlier, quoting top government source, CNN-News18 reported that the separatists were also using benami properties to acquire funds via Pakistan.

According to the sources, six separatists were using benami properties and proxies to acquire funds, while leading the separatist movement in the Valley. A direct link has been established between Lashkar-e-Taiba and Hurriyat leaders in a dossier prepared by the NIA, as per CNN-News18. The dossier elaborates on how financial assistance is sought from across the border to fund terror and fuel unrest in Kashmir.

CNN-News18 further reported that "the NIA has questioned several separatist leaders for raising and transferring funds via hawala to fund terror activities in Kashmir." In this regard, PTI reported that houses of at least eight hawala dealers and traders from New Delhi were also raided. Further, two places in Sonepat were also being searched by the NIA teams in connection with this case.

Apart from Islam, the anti-terror probe agency had also arrested six other Kashmiri separatist leaders including Hurriyat (Geelani) chief Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s son-in-law Altaf Ahmed Shah aka Altaf Funtoosh, Ayaz Akbar, Peer Saifullah, Mehraj Kalwal, Naeem Khan and Bitta Karate.

On 28 July, IANS reported that the NIA had arrested three separatist leaders in Kashmir. The leaders would be flown in to Delhi for further questioning.

Updated Date: Aug 04, 2017 17:27 PM

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