Authorities strike down on terror funding in J&K

NEW DELHI: With the Enforcement Directorate attaching the property of Kashmiri businessman Zahoor Ahmad Shah Watali in Gurugram, crackdown by authorities has begun on people and organisations suspected in activities of terror funding, especially in Jammu and Kashmir.

Authorities strike down on terror funding in J&K

NIA officials leave after a raid at the residence of a separatist leader in Srinagar. — PTI file

amansharma@tribunemail.com

Tribune News Service
New Delhi, March 23

With the Enforcement Directorate attaching the property of Kashmiri businessman Zahoor Ahmad Shah Watali in Gurugram, crackdown by authorities has begun on people and organisations suspected in activities of terror funding, especially in Jammu and Kashmir.

The authorities in multi agencies moving in coordination are on the job after the National Investigation Agency (NIA) identified 12 others in the May 2017 case relating to the J&K terror funding. Watali is in Tihar jail since last year, sources in the government said today.

Two other accused, Kamran Yusuf and Javed Ajmed Bhat who have been chargesheeted for their role in stone pelting and anti-India protests, are on bail granted by the trial court, the sources said.

The government started seizing properties belonging to terror financers identified by the NIA with the Enforcement Directorate initiating action to freeze and seize such assets. Ongoing investigations in the first phase determined and quantified assets valued over Rs 7 crore as proceeds of terror-funding crimes.

Watali, the sources said, is a major conduit for funnelling terror finances in the country and incriminating documents seized by the ED show he was receiving money from Hafiz Saeed, Syed Salahuddin, ISI and Pakistan High Commission at New Delhi and also known to have important sources of Hawala financing operating out of Dubai.

Funds, the sources added, were made available to the leadership of Valley-based terrorist groups for providing the means to misguide and recruit local youth to terrorist ranks, including from madarsas and mosques. In addition, operational activities of terror groups were also being financed, including attacks on security forces personnel, their camps and convoys, the sources added.

Money obtained through these channels was also being used by major secessionist formations, particularly All Party Hurriyat Conference (APHC), the source said, adding these funds were used to maintain top APHC leadership and to use propaganda machinery to arouse disaffection among people of J&K against the Government of India. In addition, the sources said the funds were used to spread false information through media contacts, newspapers and social media.

In turn, these activities were used to instigate and lure misguided youth to resort to anti-India activities, violent street protests, demonstrations and stone pelting on security forces at encounter sites to foment further violence, the sources said.

In addition, such funds were used to finance institutions focussed on subverting the local population through selected mosques, madarsas and organisations, including banned Jammat-e-Islami (J&K).

The sources said in addition to Watali, 10 others under probe in the NIA case of May 2017 regarding funding include Hafiz Mohammed Saeed, Sayed Salahuddin, Aftab Ahmad Shah, Altf Ahmad Shah, Mohammed Nayeem Khan, Farooq Ahmad Dar, Mohadd Akbar Khanday, Mehrajuddin Kalwal, Bashir Ahmad Bhat and Nawal Kishore Kapoor, who is alleged to have remitted Rs 5.6 crore to Watali.

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