Saturday 28 May 2022
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Demonetisation hits terrorists

New Delhi: Security forces deployed in Jammu & Kashmir, Chhattisgarh, parts of Odisha, Bengal and Bihar, and the Northeast have reported that they have observed a decline in the activities of terrorists in the past 10 days. Some Army and CRPF officers have appeared on camera for various television channels to share the observation.

One may recall that Prime Minister had said in Pune on 13 November, “Enemies took advantage of the 14 lakh crore of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 notes in circulation.”

Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju said yesterday that the estimated size of the parallel, underground economy that the terror groups based in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir ran for their operations in India was of Rs 800 crore, out of which Lashkar-e-Toiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed, Hizb ul Mujahideen, etc held cash worth Rs 20 crore in high-denomination Indian currency notes.

Even the routine stone pelters of the Kashmir Valley seem to have been stunned by the move. “Earlier, there were rates: Rs 500 for stone pelting (on security forces in Kashmir) and Rs 1,000 for doing something else. PM has brought terror funding to zero,” Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said at a function held in Mumbai on 15 November. “In the last few days after PM’s daring move there hasn’t been stone pelting on security forces. I congratulate PM for it,” he added.

“Since 8 November, not a single instance of FICN smuggling has been reported from Pakistan, Nepal or Bangladesh border,” Rijiju said. FICN stands for  Indian Currency Notes.

[stextbox id=”alert” caption=”Terror funding”]Handlers of terrorists active in Jammu & Kashmir run some legitimate businesses overseas. They hire conduits who, in turn, have legitimate bank accounts in India. Any credit to these accounts are passed off as earnings from abroad. This money is then distributed to some citizens who are referred to as OGWs or over-ground workers of the terrorists on ground. Once out of the bank, the money stays in cash form, facilitating the terrorists’ regular, activities. In this entire supply chain, the OGWs have been hit the hardest. Last year alone, the defence forces had seized Rs 6,75,684 worth of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes from them. All their cash is now trash.

“Another group affected by the demonetization are the terrorists who are waiting to infiltrate from across the border. Most of these infiltrators are paid cash by Pakistani handlers. And all of the money is given in high-denomination notes so that they could sustain after crossing in till they met their contacts in Jammu and Kashmir. Since demonetization sprang a surprise it has hit the Pakistani terror handlers hard,” an intelligence officer said to a newspaper.[/stextbox]

The terrorists of the Northeast have lost Rs 780 crore due to demonetisation. In Gadchiroli of Maharashtra, which is the western extent to which the Maoists operate, a police officer said that the terrorists were sending a few villagers from Naxal-hit Gondia, Chandrapur and Gadhchiroli with demonetised notes to the banks in order to exchange them.

“We tracked movements of these suspected villagers and learnt that they were carrying money handed over to them by the Naxals. Once this fact came to our notice, we beefed up monitoring the banks and post offices in the Naxal-affected areas. All efforts are being taken to ensure that Naxals do not succeed in getting demonetised notes exchanged,” the officer said to DNA.

Five days ago, security forces in the Kanker district of Chhattisgarh seized demonetised notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000, formerly worth Rs 5 lakh, from a bus traveller suspected to be a courier of the Maoists.

Maoists collect over Rs 1,500 crore in cash every year by means of extortion from the tendu leaves’ contractors (Rs 200 crore per state), road contractors, the mining industry in Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand. Whoever refuses to pay is killed. There have been 17 killings this year due to refusal by the victims or some people related to them for refusing to pay the Maoists ransom in a total of 124 such cases.

“It is interesting to note that no major terror attack has been reported in the valley since 8 November,” an intelligence officer said, adding, “Though this could be partially on account of normalcy having returned to the valley prior to demonetisation, it also indicates that terrorists are now finding it difficult to fund their activities.”

[dropcap]I[/dropcap]n the meantime, the government has deputed officers from the Union Home Ministry, the head of the Jammu & Kashmir desk, Enforcement Directorate and Finance Ministry, among a few other departments, for a -State coordination team whose mandate is to track terror funding and hawala transactions. The teams work in consultation with Chief Secretary BR Sharma, Director General of Police K Rajendra Kumar and several bankers.

National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi, RAW chief Rajinder Khanna and Director Dineshwar Sharma attended a meeting convened by Home Minister Rajnath Singh yesterday. They will monitor the -State teams’ work.

It was perhaps to make the point that they remain undaunted by the cash crunch that suspected militants of the United Liberation Front of Assam (Independent) killed 3 Army jawans and wounded 3 others in an ambush Saturday morning at around 5:30 am when 2 Army vehicles were on their way to Digboi from Pengeri. The ambush happened inside the Burhi Dihing reserve forest in Tinsukia district, about 510 km north-east of Guwahati.

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