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13 terror financers in J-K identified: Officials

March 24, 2019 18:26 IST

'Individuals have been found providing money to major terrorist groups, Hurriyat leaders, separatists and stone-pelters in Jammu and Kashmir.'

Continuing the crackdown on terror financers, security agencies say they have identified 13 people, including Hizbul Mujahideen founder Syed Salahuddin, Hurriyat leaders and businessmen, who allegedly provide funds to terrorists and stone pelters at the behest of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence.

Thirteen individuals and their properties have been identified by the National Investigation Agency and action has been initiated, they said.

"Individuals identified during these investigations have been found providing money to all major terrorist groups like the Lashkar-e-Tayiba and Hizbul Mujahideen as also Hurriyat leaders, separatists and stone-pelters in Jammu and Kashmir," a senior government official said.

Funds were provided to the leadership of Kashmir-based terrorist groups to motivate and recruit local youths to terrorists's ranks.

 

Operational activities of terror groups, including attacks on security forces, camps and convoys, are also being financed, the official said, adding money obtained through these channels are being used by secessionist formations, especially the Hurriyat Conference.

These funds are used to maintain the Hurriyat's top leadership and a massive propaganda machinery to arouse disaffection among the people of Jammu and Kashmir against the Centre.

It is also being utilised to spread false information through media contacts, newspapers and social media, the official claimed.

The official said these are in turn used to instigate and lure misguided youth to resort to anti-India activities, violent street protests and stone pelting on security forces at encounter sites.

Extensive use of such funds is being made to finance institutions such as select mosques, madrasas and organisations like the recently banned Jamat-e-Islami (J-K), to focus on subverting locals, another official said.

In the first strike, action was initiated to attach a plush bungalow owned by Zahoor Ahmad Shah Watali in Gurgaon, the official said.

Watali, at present, lodged in Delhi's Tihar jail, is allegedly a major conduit for funnelling terror finances into India, the official said.

Documents seized by the enforcement directorate indicate that Watali received money from Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Tayiba terrorist Muhammad Saeed, Salahuddin, the ISI and the Pakistan high commission in New Delhi, the official claimed.

Watali is known to have important sources of hawala financing operating out of Dubai. Besides him, another 10 leaders were brought into the multi-agency action on terror funding.

The ED has begun action to freeze and seize such assets.

The ongoing investigation in the first phase has determined and quantified assets valued at over Rs 7 crore (Rs 70 million) as proceeds of terror funding crimes, the official said.

The 13 identified individuals include Mohammad Yusuf Shah alias Syed Salahuddin, who through Hizbul, has been actively involved in creating unrest in Kashmir and other parts of India, according to a document prepared by security agencies.

As a former resident of Jammu and Kashmir, Salahuddin has a wide network of local sympathisers who act on his instructions and collect funds sent by him to fuel secessionist activities, it said.

Muhammad Saeed, the self-styled chief of the Pakistan-based Jamaat-ul Dawaa, and others have been raising, receiving and collecting funds to fund terrorist activities in J&K.

During a search at Aftab Ahmad Shah's home in Srinagar, the NIA seized incriminating documents. During interrogation, Shah confessed that his charter of duties included monitoring incidents, issuing statements, arranging meetings and conferences.

Shah, a Tehreek-e-Hurriyat founder member, is spokesperson and legal advisor to the Hurriyat (Mirwaiz faction).

Shah, separatist leader Syed Geelani's son-in-law, is closely associated with the JeI (J-K).

The 13 individuals also include Mohammed Nayeem Khan, Farooq Ahmad Dar, Akbar Khanday, Mehrajuddin Kalwal, Bashir Ahmad Bhat, Saifullah and Nawal Kishore Kapoor.

Khan, self-styled chairman of the National Front, an organisation affiliated to the Hurriyat, was part of the Muslim Jaanbaaz Force and earlier involved in various militant activities, the document said.

Dar was JKLF-R chairman and is a terrorist involved in criminal and anti-national activities since 1990. He received arms training in Pakistan occupied Kashmir in 1989-1090.

Khanday is a JeI(J-K) member and trusted lieutenant of Geelani.

Kalwal, a former militant trained in PoK, is a key fundraiser for stone pelters. He collects funds on the Hurriyat's behalf and spearheads protests, the document said.

Bhat, a former Hizbul insurgent, went to PoK for arms training and was involved in terrorist cases. He is a trusted aide of Geelani and aware of fund collection and distribution by the Hurriyat leader to operatives who indulged in anti-India activities.

He has visited the Pakistan high commission in Delhi with Geelani several times, it said.

Kapoor, Watali's close associate, remitted Rs 5.6 crore (Rs 56 million) to Watali for which he has not been able to produce any document.

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