Crackdown altering landscape of Pakistan sponsored terrorism in Kashmir
Whether you believe or no, the crackdown on terror financing is drastically altering the landscape of Pakistan sponsored terrorism in Kashmir and more needs to done.
The crackdown had set in stone the fact that the separatists have links to Pakistan- sponsored terror organizations. It also proves that internal trade routes across India too are actively involved in the process.
Anti- terror agencies, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the State Investigation Agency, which made the recoveries, arrests, have come to the conclusion that the funding was received through illegal means and hawala channels to fund terror in Jammu and Kashmir.
It was really imperative to first identify the actual sources of terror funding, before cracking down on terrorism in Kashmir. It is not just important to nip terrorism in the bud, but it is first important to identify and choke the source of funding. Once the source is identified, it really becomes easier to get to the root of the problem and identify who and what factors are responsible for what is happening in Kashmir since 33 years.
So far a concerted crackdown on terror financing has been a major shot in the arm for the security forces. The reasons why stone-pelting has stopped almost completely is because the funding that fuelled it has dried. But stone-pelting was also curbed by stringent policing to identify and book the key instigators.
Notably, National Investigation Agency probes into terror financing has proved popular and effective—popular because, for the first time in decades, ‘conflict entrepreneurs’ who have profited at the expense of law-abiding citizens are in the cross-hairs of the investigation agencies; and effective because with funds drying up, sponsoring civil disturbances has become more difficult.
The formation of the Terror Monitoring Group comprising the Income Tax Department, Enforcement Directorate, CBI, JKP, Research and Analysis Wing, and Intelligence Bureau has allowed these agencies to work in tandem against the terror finance networks. The Anti-Corruption Bureau has also become very active in countering terror finance (CFT) operations. It seems that the present dispensation have finally recognised the importance of dismantling the ecosystem that sustains terrorism, both ideologically and financially. Even as the crackdown on money laundering and terror finance continues, the punitive action needs to be scaled up significantly.
While the Pakistan backed separatists were under the scanner for having received funds from the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) to carry out subversive activities in Kashmir, the hawala money laundering network was also actively used to fund to sponsor home-grown terrorists.
An emerging area of concern is the spectre of what officials fear is an impending narcotics epidemic in the Valley. But much of the evidence related to this is anecdotal. The security forces and citizens alike believe that the terrorist-narcotics nexus is a serious development. The instances in which drug addicts were found involved in either facilitating terrorists or engaging in a terrorist action have convinced security personnel that narcotics is helping fuel terrorism in Kashmir.
After the suspension of cross-LoC trade, there is not much drug smuggling across the LoC. Most of the drugs found here—are dropped through drones and professional smugglers.
The drug trade for terrorism in Kashmir is old or we can say from inception of terrorism sponsored by Pakistan. The extent of drug smuggling being carried out by terrorists in Kashmir can be judged from the fact that 19,450 kg of narcotics (heroin, charas, brown sugar, etc) valued at Rs 20 crore was recovered from Kashmir during 1997-1998.
Now it is Bitcoin to sponsor terrorism in Kashmir. The anti-terror State Investigation Agency (SIA) recently conducted raids at multiple locations in the union territory as part of investigations into the use of Bitcoin channel for funding terror activities.
SIA said a Pakistani mastermind has been pumping slush money to his agents in J&K to fuel mass violence and terrorist activities.
The terrorism in J&K is financed by a variety of sources, both national and transnational. While it costs the terrorists only a modest sum of money to destabilise the region and spread terror, the Government had to set aside huge outlays to tackle the problem. A more effective method of fighting terrorism must be launched and a multidimensional offensive against all the sources-narcotic trade, extortion, counterfeiting, fake charities-as well as methods of financing, hawala and front companies.