VK Singh says Hurriyat must be declared a terrorist body after TV channel 'exposes' money trail leading to Pakistan
This is not the first time that the Hurriyat Conference's means to gather finances have come under the scanner.
Minister of Development of Northeastern Region of India and former Army chief General VK Singh on Thursday said that separatist leadership must be put behind bars and Hurriyat Conference must be declared a terrorist organisation. Speaking to India Today, Singh said that people like Syed Ali Shah Geelani must not be allowed to live in relative comfort when under house arrest and they should be put in prison under the Public Safety Act.
The interview was conducted after the news channel claimed to have carried out a sting operation on Hurriyat leaders, which the channel said was a conclusive proof of Pakistani funding finding its way to separatists in the Valley. The TV channel aired audio and video clips wherein Hurriyat leader's conceded to have been receiving funds from Pakistan to spur unrest.
Firstpost could not independently verify these claims, however, this is not the first time that the Hurriyat Conference's means to gather finances have come under the scanner.
According to a Firstpost report published in November 2016, just days after demonetisation, Jammu and Kashmir police had uncovered fake currency rackets and various benami and hawala transactions which were linked to the Hurriyat.
A top police official said that large batches of fake currency come from Pakistan, and sizeable chunks of money also reach militants involved in insurgency in the Valley. Between 2012 and 2014, police and bank authorities have recovered Rs 87.1 lakh in fake currency, while many cases are under investigation.
The National Investigating Agency (NIA) has also registered cases involving hawala transactions, which came to light after the arrest of a few Hurriyat activists. The NIA is investigating the role of the Naeem Geelani, the elder son of Hurriyat (G) chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani, in a case involving the "flow of funds from various overseas bank accounts", meant to be used in separatist activities here.
The NIA investigation has revealed that in some of the cases, even Pakistan's ISI officials were involved. The officials supply hawala money through their contacts to the Hurriyat activists in India. To evade detection and arrest, the accused even speak in code language. The ISI has roped in militants, who along with their contacts in Srinagar, had managed to get currency from across the border.
Then in March this year, Enforcement Directorate (ED) had summoned separatist leaders Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Yasin Malik for allegedly violating foreign exchange rules.
The case pertains to the recovery of $10,000 from his Hyderpora residence on the outskirts of Srinagar city in June 2002 during a raid by Income Tax sleuths. Geelani's properties were assessed by the Income Tax department and a penalty of Rs 1.73 crore was raised against him.
Malik was arrested under the now-defunct Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) by police after the couple claimed that the money was brought through hawala channel to be disbursed to him. He is at present out on bail in this case.
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