By Farooq Ganderbali
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) summon to Naseem Geelani, son of Hurriyat hawk Syed Ali Geelani, to appear before it on March 22 at its New Delhi headquarters, is another timely step in right direction. The junior Geelani has been summoned under section 50 of The Prevention of Money-Laundering Act, 2002. The ED notice to Naseem, a professor at agriculture university Srinagar (SKUAST), comes less than a week after the National Investigation Agency summoned him to New Delhi in connection with terror funding case.
It is a no secret that separatists and their family members are the biggest beneficiaries of the violence and unrest Kashmir is going through for the last almost three decades. In 2017 a sensational sting by a television channel had proved conclusively in public that separatist leaders organise disturbances in Kashmir, and receive hundreds of crores from Pakistan for this. Money has been coming to Kashmir — from Pakistan and elsewhere — since 1955 when the Plebiscite Front was formed. There was turmoil in the Valley during the 1980s, partly fermented by money from abroad.
That has only increased since. Pakistan outlays to sustain the Kashmir insurgency and terrorism through the 1990s and beyond must have run to thousands of crores a year. That’s not all. That is only part of what separatists have been up to. An even more astounding part of the shenanigans in Kashmir is that some state mainstream politicians have routinely arranged jobs and promotions for close relatives of the most active anti-India leaders like Geelani.
In October 2016, when on the directions of Geelani and his ilk, Kashmir was shut for five months, his grandson was given a plum job at the Sher-e-Kashmir International Conference Centre. Since the place is frequently used for high-security state functions (former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has stayed at the hotel there), it is surely not possible for anyone to be employed there without clearance from state agencies. Geelani’s grandson was given the job at the height of 2016 unrest when most people could move around owing to a shutdown called by his grandfather. But the young man’s well-paid job is part of a long-established pattern.
Till sometime back, even the Indian establishment had turned a blind eye to all sorts of things which is a horrifying aspect of the putrid mess in Kashmir. However, now the central agencies have started to tighten the rope around the separatists and their sympathizers. In 2017, the ED had summoned Geelani to its office in Srinagar for hearing in a case dating back to June 2002. In July 2017, the ED arrested separatist leader Shabir Ahmad Shah in a money-laundering case dating back to 2005. Shah is presently lodged in Delhi’s Tihar jail.
The ED has also moved a Delhi court seeking its nod to quiz Geelani’s son-in-law Altaf Shah in connection with a militancy-funding case. It has also sought to question Zahoor Watali, an influential businessman having friendship with Pakistani leaders and Kashmiri separatists, and Naval Kishore Kapoor, a UAE-based businessman. Shah, Watali and Kapoor were arrested by the NIA in the funding case and are lodged in Tihar jail. That day is not far when all the anti-India elements in Kashmir will be behind the bars.
By Farooq Ganderbali