STATES: JAMMU AND KASHMIR
JKLF chief Yasin Malik’s arrest raises suspicions about the rising reliance of separatists on hawala funds in the ValleyBy Ramesh Vinayak
ON THE DEFENSIVE: Malik, who was booked under POTO, says he was framed in the case
Police say the money was meant to fund activities that would hinder the state elections to be held soon.
On March 24, the Jammu police recovered $100,000 (Rs 48 lakh) neatly stitched on to the salwar of a young Kashmiri woman at a check-post on the Jammu-Srinagar highway. What was significant was not the quantity of money or the ingenuity in its smuggling. It was the sheer timing. The case came in the run-up to the high-stake battle by the A.B. Vajpayee Government to push the controversial Prevention of Terrorism Ordinance (poto) through Parliament. The Government could not have asked for a more telling example to press its point home. Two days after the police booked Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (jklf) Chairman Yasin Malik in Srinagar, the intended recipient of the seized dollars, under poto, the terror bill was passed by a joint sitting of the Parliament.The dollar grab—the latest in a string of at least eight cash and hawala seizures in Kashmir and Delhi in the past three months—highlights the increased importance of foreign funding in sustaining militancy in Kashmir and the growing desperation of secessionists for hard cash to keep their operations running.