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Rediff.com  » News » Terror groups shift to marijuana business to fund attacks

Terror groups shift to marijuana business to fund attacks

January 02, 2010 16:15 IST

Each time anybody smokes marijuana, he or she contributes towards funding terror organisations.

Intelligence Bureau officials told rediff.com that following the crackdown by security agencies on fake currency racket, terror groups have now taken to marijuana cultivation and exportation to finance their activities.

In 2009 alone, security agencies have seized 1.28 lakh kg of marijuana across the country.

IB sources told rediff.com that the cultivation of Marijuana has increased, as terror groups as well as Naxalites have been using the money generated to fund terror operations.

While Nagaland topped the production of marijuana as always, there has been a rise in cultivation in Andhra Pradesh, Chattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh.

Terror groups have entered areas infested with the Naxal menace to further their marijuana trade.

IB sources have revealed that members of the local modules of the Students' Islamic Movement of India and also the Indian Mijahideen have established contacts with Naxals, who act as a cover.

While the cost of cultivation of marijuana is taken care of by the terror groups, Naxals protect the crop and receive a huge sum in return, which is known as protection money.

Sources in the Andhra Pradesh police department said they had noticed the rise in the cultivation of marijuana, and this has been largely restricted to Naxal belts.

Since the flow of funds from across the borders has gone down drastically following heightened security on the borders, terror groups have shifted to marijuana sale.

Earlier, terror groups relied heavily on smuggling drugs to Pakistan and Afghanistan. However, after Indian security agencies made that impossible, terror groups resorted to circulating fake currency in India to fund their attacks. 

However, IM sources said, terror groups found it hard to pump in fake notes due to the various measures taken by Indian agencies and hence they have instructed all local modules to adopt marijuana cultivation to fend for themselves.

Terror groups have also roped in local goons to smuggle marijuana across the border.

The fake currency business alone provided the terror groups of almost Rs 1,000 crore annually, IB sources said.

Security agencies said the figure has dropped drastically and could be now between Rs 200 and Rs 300 crore -- this would not be sufficient for terror groups, especially at a time when they are now trying to regroup with other modules.

The marijuana seizure in 2009 is enough proof that terror groups and Naxalites have been raising huge sums of money for their operations this way.

Interestingly, the marijuana seizures were made in remote areas of the states that have a huge Naxal presence.

Terror groups have intentionally chosen such areas since the police patrolling is lesser over here and they feel this would be a safe haven for them, said IB sources.

Marijuana cultivated in India is exported at high prices.

Vicky Nanjappa in Bengaluru