How ISI funds stone-pelters via Hurriyat in Kashmir: Times Now

05/06/2017

NEW DELHI, May 6: Television channel Times Now today aired an expose showing how Pakistan's intelligence agency ISI has routed Rs 70 lakh or more to stone-pelters in Jammu and Kashmir through Hurriyat leader Shabir Shah.

This explosive revelation comes on the heels of confessions by two recently captured ISI agents in India, that they regularly got money from Abdul Basit, Pakistan's envoy to India. Taken together, the two startling disclosures only strengthen New Delhi's long-held assertion that Pakistan, through both state and so-called non-state actors, funds terror in India, especially in Kashmir.

Kashmir has been on the boil since the July 2016 when security forces killed terrorist Burhan Wani. From then until now, those protesting Wani's death have waged a battle against security forces in the state by resorting to pelting stones at them. And the numbers of stone-pelters have risen dramatically.

The money route, the players

While there has always been speculation that Pakistan is involved in paying off these protestors to come out and throw stones at security forces , Times Now has in its possession documents that show details of the money route, of the players at both ends - that is , the funders and the primary recipients - and of whose hands much of the money ends up in ultimately.

The ISI's cash register documents accessed by Times Now show that the two ends of the money trail are Rawalpindi, which is ISI's headquarters, and Srinagar, where the Hurriyat is based. From Srinagar, the money makes its way to people in places like Anantnag, Pulwama and Kupwara. These are all areas that have regularly reported often intense stone pelting.

In Rawalpindi, an ISI man named Ahmed Sagar is regularly in touch with Hurriyat leaders, especially Shabir Shah, Times Now's story reveals. Shah then disburses the money to various district offices of the Hurriyat who then hire young people to participate in pelting stones.

Incidentally, Sagar is known to be close Pakistan's envoy in India, Basit.

In fact, the Times Now story said the ISI also uses the Hurriyat to fund separatists and terror acts in troubled Kashmir. Shah has been under the scanner for this too, before.

The Indian Prime Minister's Office (PMO) has issued a directive that a close watch is to be kept on the financial activities of businessman associated with Kashmiri separatists and Hurriyat leaders, Times Now said. The director general of police in Kashmir has been requested to initiate action and send a status report of what has been done.

"Every effort is being taken to ensure this kind of sponsored unrest will be put to an end," said Indian minister of state, PMO, Jitendra Singh, to the TV channel.

Some politicians wanted sterner action taken.

"We need immediate President's rule in Kashmir" said BJP MP Subramanian Swamy, in reaction to Times Now's investigation.

"Hurriyat is a big money-making racket," said defence analyst Maroof Raza. He added that the organization has in fact "been set up by Pakistan."

Opposition politicians too condemned this sponsored unrest.

"We don't go by names; anybody who is a traitor is nation's enemy. In the matters of national security we are totally with the Center," said Sunil Singh, JDU leader, to Times Now.(TOI)

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