Subham Sharma
[ August 02, 2017 ] Raids at the houses of Hurriyat leaders and businessmen who deal in hawala funding of agitations in Kashmir were long overdue. Even now, the government owes the country an explanation for why the conduits that fund trouble — ranging from demonstrations to armed attacks — were not squeezed earlier. The tragic fact is that these raids might be like slamming shut the stable door after the horse has already bolted. As a result of all the agitations, narratives and discourses that various funders promoted over the past decade, the fire of jihadi determination has been lit and has spread in the generation of teenagers who were at the forefront of last year’s uprising. Some of those who were raided are said to have done much damage, not just a decade ago but even over the past couple of months. For instance, one of the business groups raided was a key organizer of a cricket competition for Kashmiri teams in Dubai earlier this year. Much of the brains-trust which has collectively shaped the minds of Kashmir’s teenagers was taken there for those matches. Discussions could have been held on the sidelines of the games. It would be interesting to know who paid for the junkets. Continued efforts of Indian security forces and investigating agencies have led to curbing the terror activities in Jammu and Kashmir. However, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in a bid to curb terror funding and troublemaker activities in the valley on Sunday raided the house and office of Devinder Singh Behl in money laundering case and arrested him from his residence who is close aide of Syed Ali Shah Geelani allegedly involved in the money laundering case and funded anti-national elements to create unrest in Kashmir. The action of NIA comes after the central agency arrested seven Kashmiri separatist leaders including Hurriyat chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s son-in-law Altaf Shah and moderate Hurriyat chairman’s close aide Shahid-ul-Islam in connection with its probe into the funding of terror and subversive activities in Kashmir. All are in the remand of NIA for custodial interrogation in the case. According to the sources, more arrest is possible in the terror funding and money laundering case. The arrest comes a month after NIA raided eight and fourteen locations of Delhi, Haryana and Kashmir respectively in connection with the terror funding case. The case came into the limelight after a sting operation surfaced in which they purportedly confessed by Nayeem Khan to receiving funds from Pakistan to create unrest in the Kashmir Valley. After this, Geelani suspended Khan from the basic membership of Hurriyat conference in May. In 2002, the Income Tax department had raided the establishments of some separatist leaders, including Geelani, and seized cash and documents. Interestingly, this the first time since the rise of militancy in Kashmir in the early 1990s, NIA had carried out raids in connection with the funding of separatists. The generation now in the field is under the age of 25, most of them teenagers. Putting the squeeze on established funding routes at this stage is unlikely to dampen the enthusiasm of these teenagers. There will at best be a brief dip in their momentum. Those highly motivated boys do not need much money to keep at it. Enough money is available in small contributions from across the Valley. And foreign powers will probably have little trouble bringing fresh hawala conduits, expatriate transfers, over-invoiced export payments, and small or big direct money transfers into play. The horrendous violence that lies ahead could have been avoided if those in power had cut off this sort of funding a decade ago. Tragically for the nation’s future, several covert agendas have been in play. Even squeezing funds a decade ago would not have been enough by itself. A multi-pronged plan of action was urgently required. Those in power needed to urgently improve the education system in Kashmir, and ensure responsive, efficient, clean governance. The aspirations of the youth revolved around dignity, justice, and responsive administration. All they got from the previous Union government was a bunch of corruption-ridden, inefficient and extortionist recruitment and admissions programmes. Instead, they installed the cynical, corrupt and exploitative Omar Abdullah government for six years from 2009. Several of the carpet-baggers who have been involved with funding and instigating trouble in various ways also had close links with key figures in the state government.