LoC trade was used for weapon smuggling, funding militants: NIA
New Delhi, Feb 2:Separatists in Kashmir have been using the cross-border trade route and linkages with Pakistan to smuggle weapons and generate money to fuel their anti-India agenda in Jammu and Kashmir, the NIA has said in its charge sheet to prosecute Hurriyat leaders for allegedly stoking ‘terror’ in the state.
“It has been established that the secessionist and separatist leaders are raising funds through LoC (Line of Control) trade by way of directing Kashmiri traders to do under-invoicing of the goods imported through LoC barter trade,” the National Investigation Agency (NIA) said in its charge sheet filed in a court here on January 18.
A portion of the 12,794-page charge sheet is in the possession of IANS that exposes an alleged three way nexus between Pakistan-based militants, unnamed Pakistani officials and separatist leaders to foment militancy and stone-pelting protests in Jammu and Kashmir.
“…a significant number of traders engaged in cross-LoC trade have relatives across the border who are closely associated with banned militant organisations, especially Hizbul Mujahideen,” the charge sheet said.
During the course of investigation, the agency said, it found that some traders have been smuggling contraband and weapons in the garb of the cross-border trade.
It said it was conducting a separate investigation into how terror was being financed through the trade link opened in October 2008 as part of a confidence building measure to facilitate hassle-free movement between people living in parts of Jammu and Kashmir divided between India and Pakistan.
However, the NIA said that militant leaders exploited the link to further their secessionist agenda and escalate terror activities in the state, particularly in the Kashmir Valley.
It said Kashmiri traders sell goods imported from Pakistan through LoC barter trade to businessmen in Delhi and a part of the profit was being shared with Hurriyat leaders.
The money that goes to the Hurriyat was “used on anti-India propaganda, for mobilising the public to organise protests and stone-pelting and to support families of killed and jailed militants”, according to the NIA.
It said hawala operators were also being used to transfer funds for stoking ‘terror’ in the valley.
“The investigation has revealed the funds are generated by resorting to sale of third-party goods, under-weighing, under-invoicing, large-scale dealings in cash and committing irregularities in maintenance of records.
“This modus-operandi leads to generation of huge cash surpluses on the Indian side which are then channelised through several formal banking channels as well as cash couriers and hawala dealers to the separatists active in Jammu and Kashmir.”
The charge sheet has named Pakistan-based militant leaders Hafiz Saeed and Syed Salahuddin and seven jailed Kashmiri separatist leaders and three others in the case.