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India

Narcoterrorism In J&K: Punjab Drug Smugglers Reportedly Funding Kashmir Militancy

This came to the light after the SIA filed a charge sheet on Tuesday with regard to a terror funding case that has been registered last year.

Jammu and Kashmir
The Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) Police had earlier said that after the cash channels of militants were blocked, they were managing expenses through narcoterrorism. (Representative Image)(Photo: PTI)

A link between gangsters in Punjab and Kashmiri militants has been established by the State Investigating Agency (SIA) where it has come to the fore that narcotic smugglers in Punjab are funding the terror activities in the valley.

This came to the light after the SIA filed a charge sheet on Tuesday with regard to a terror funding case that has been registered last year. The Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) Police had earlier said that after the cash channels of militants were blocked, they were managing expenses through narcoterrorism.

The DGP of Punjab had also said that militants from Pakistan were infiltrating into the state, as well as, sending consignments of drugs through the International Border. In 2020, three local Kashmiris were also arrested from Punjab in connection to the same. The police said that this arrest prevented the supply of deadly weapons to Kashmir which included an assault rifle.

FIR against the accused was registered in Pathankot after 10 hand grenades along with an AK 47 rifle and 2 magazines were seized from them. The accused were reportedly transporting these weapons in a truck from Amritsar in Punjab to the Anantnag district of Kashmir valley.

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Now, on Tuesday, a separate charge sheet has been filed against Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) commander based in Pakistan and three Punjab-based gangsters, and one local Kashmiri. All have been reportedly booked under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, Arms Act, and Indian Penal Code.

Aashiq Nengroo is the JeM commander, originally from South Kashmir, named in it. Besides him, Muzamil Ahmed Malik (a trucker) and three Punjabis, Ravi Kumar alias Nona, Jai Dhawan alias Deep, and Amarbir Singh alias Gopi Mahal were also named in the charge sheet.

The case actually pertains to a seizure of rupees 43 lac from a Kashmir-bound taxi by the Jammu Police wherein 3 persons were traveling which reportedly included two residents of Pulwama named Mauzam Pervez and Umar Farooq – both named in a separate charge sheet filed on May 14. They were arrested last year in November.

“Investigations have revealed that the accused Parvez and Farooq had conspired with Muzamil Malik and accused Nengroo and knowingly facilitated the movement of terror funds which were to be further distributed to JeM terrorists operating in Kashmir for launching terrorist attacks in India,” PTI had quoted an SIA official as saying.

He had said that the accused, Malik, had ferried Pervez and Farooq to Punjab in his own truck where they met Punjabi gangsters and narcotics smugglers who gave them the money.

The three smugglers who gave this money to Parvez and Farooq included Amarbir Singh and his 2 associates Ravi Kumar and Jaideep Dhawan. While Singh has 23 FIRs against him including those of murder and extortion, Kumar’s house which was raided by Punjab Police saw the recovery of “arms and ammunition” from there last year.

While the link between the Punjab gangsters and the Kashmiri militants seems novel, narcotics and weapon smuggling together have been witnessed in Kashmir before. In 2020, two people were arrested from the Kupwara district of north Kashmir along with drugs and weapons worth rupees.

As per a report, 13.5 kg of narcotics which was alone worth Rs 65 Crores in the market was recovered along with two pistols, four magazines, 55 pistol rounds, four hand grenades, and 10 detonators.

In 2018 as well, at least 12 Kilograms of drugs were recovered alongside two AK-56 rifles in the Tangdhar area of North Kashmir. Four people were arrested.

In 2021, a truck traveling from Srinagar when intercepted at Jammu had 52 kgs of Heroine in it.

In June 2020, 21 kilograms of Heroine were seized from three operatives of Lashkar-e-Taiba in the Handwara area.

The police have been repeatedly saying that the handlers of the terror groups are cultivating the narcotic substances in the Pakistani land, across the border, and later pushing the same produce into the Kashmir valley through illegal routes.

The local operatives of these groups in Kashmir, later, sell this in the other parts of the country and the money earned through these means is used in funding the violent terror activities in the valley.