J&K: Crackdown against separatists in decisive phase

Story by  IANS | Posted by  shaista fatima | Date 14-11-2022
A representative image
A representative image



For three decades, Kashmiri separatists owned palatial bungalows and offices in and outside Jammu and Kashmir.

Pakistani stooges, who acted as advocates of the neighbouring country in Kashmir, used to run a parallel system as the political regimes didn't muster courage to act against them.

They were allowed to get away with everything even the properties they purchased through illegal means. However, after the Pulwama terror attack in February 2019, which left 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel dead, the Centre tightened the noose around the separatists and imposed a ban on Jamaat-e-Islami, Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) and other organisations preaching separatism and sedition.

As a part of the crackdown launched against the separatists the Income Tax Department in April 2019, seized a house belonging to chairman of Hurriyat Conference, late Syed Ali Shah Geelani in Delhi in connection with a Rs 3.62-crore tax evasion case against him. The seized property was located in South Delhi's Malviya Nagar area.

In July 2019, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) for the first time in 30 years seized a property belonging to any separatist leader in Kashmir by attaching the house of Asiya Andrabi, self styled chief of women radical organisation Dukhtaran-e-Millat. Her house situated at Soura in Srinagar outskirts was seized under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). The NIA in a charge sheet against Andrabi had stated that she was involved in "waging war" against the country and was using social media to spread "insurrectionary imputations and hateful messages and speeches against India".

Her organization engaged in anti-India activities and was inciting the Kashmiri people for an armed rebellion against the government of India with aid and assistance of terrorist organisations based in Pakistan. Earlier this month, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) attached the house of jailed separatist Shabir Ahmad Shah valued at Rs 21.80 lakh under anti-money laundering law in a case linked to the funding of terror activities.

Situated at Botshah Colony in Srinagar's Sanat Nagar area, the property was attached in an ongoing money laundering case, naming Shabir Ahmad Shah and Lashkar-e-Taiba co-founder Hafiz Muhammad Saeedand others under various sections of IPC and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), 1967. During the course of an investigation, the ED said it was revealed that Shah was actively involved in the activities of fuelling unrest in Kashmir by way of stone pelting, processions, protests, bandhs, hartals and other subversive activities.

The investigations had revealed that Shah was involved in receiving funds from the terrorist organisation Hizb-ul-Mujahideen (HM) and other terrorist outfits based in Pakistan as well as from the Pakistani establishment through hawala and various other means and channels. These funds were then being used for fuelling and supporting terrorist activities in Kashmir. Stringent laws framed After August 5, 2019 when the Centre announced its decision to abrogate J&K's special status and bifurcated it into two Union Territories, the noose against the separatists and terrorist supporters was tightened further.

Stringent laws were framed to nail the terrorist supporters. Jammu and Kashmir Police launched a drive to seize the properties and vehicles of terrorist supporters under the UAPA. In 2021, J&K Police had accorded sanction for the seizure of 75 vehicles, (which included mostly four-wheelers and two-wheelers), five houses, six shops, land, and cash under Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). 9 Jamaat properties sealed In the beginning of this month authorities in South Kashmir's Shopian district seized nine properties, including two schools buildings and separate lands, belonging to banned Jamaat-e-Islami.

The order issued by the government stated that the entry into and usage of seized properties by anyone, other than investigating officers of SIA and police for the purpose of investigation, stood banned. The State investigation Agency has identified 30 more properties of Jamaat-e-Islami worth crores in north and south Kashmir and would be sealed soon. The properties that are to be sealed are around Rs 10 crore and the law enforcing agencies are getting ready to seal these. The properties of separatists are being sealed to choke the availability of funds for secessionist activities and to dismantle the ecosystem of anti-national elements and terror networks hostile to country's sovereignty. J&K Police have warned people against providing shelter to terrorists or their accomplices.

"Don't give shelter or harbour terrorists, terror associates. Legal action will be supplemented by property attachments as per law," it warned. Major Step The seizure of the properties belonging to separatists, the organizations that were propagating Pakistan's agenda has proven to be a major step towards dismantling the terror ecosystem prevalent in Kashmir. For 30 years, the erstwhile political regimes didn't take any initiative to destroy the terror infrastructure in Kashmir.

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The former dispensations allowed the separatists to accumulate wealth disproportionate to their known sources of income. The organisations like Jamaat, JKLF, Hurriyat and others were even allowed to setup their offices in different places across Kashmir. Corporate companies The separatist organisations functioned like corporate companies, which even paid salaries to their henchmen. After the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led dispensation scrapped Article 370, a temporary provision in the Constitution, in 2019 many decisions were taken to end Pakistan sponsored terrorism in Kashmir.

To seize properties of the separatists and close down their offices are a part of the government's campaign to wipe out the symbols of separatism and sedition in the Valley. During the past three years, Kashmir has not witnessed shutdowns, street protests, and stone pelting incidents, as the offices of the separatists where these were planned have been closed down.

The separatist outfits don't function like corporate houses anymore as their funding channels have been blocked. The schools that were run by Jamaat and other radical organizations stand closed. Common residents of J&K too have rejected the people who preached separatism and sedition and sold illusions like "Azadi" to run their shops.

A common man in J&K has realized that separatists were not their well wishers. They were the agents of Pakistan and they were paid for disrupting the normal lives of the people. Kashmir has said goodbye to separatism and terrorism, and has embarked on the journey of peace, prosperity and development.