Kashmir Indepth

Supply of arms, clandestine trade of drugs, others among main reasons of cross LoC trade suspension: MHA

Srinagar, Apr 19 : A day after cross LOC trade was suspended, the Ministry of home Affairs Department of Jammu and Kashmir Affairs Friday issued a detailed statement regarding the suspension, saying infiltration of third party goods, channeling funds for terror, clandestine trade of drugs, supply of Arms to support militants in the valley and pumping fake currency notes were the main reasons for suspending the trade.

“LoC trade across Chakan-Da-Bagh and Salamabad was intended as a confidence building measure for the population living in remote areas of Jammu and Kashmir and living across LoC in PoJK and J&K. However, third parties manipulated the trade and misused it for trading goods being produced from outside the State of Jammu and Kashmir. For example the almonds produced in California finding their way through LoC trade involving a large transport network spread in many countries,” a statement issued  reads.

“While charge sheeting businessman Zahoor Ahmed Watali who was the president of LoC traders association, he was found to be funneling money to militants, separatists and subversive elements in the valley. ED has already attached his property worth crores and further investigations are still on,” it added.

The statement reads that NIA has decoded the modus operandi of dubious hawala transactions for terror financing. “The inimical elements on Pakistan side identify a suitable Pakistani trader firm and hand over the money that is to be transferred to the anti national elements and militant organizations on the Indian side. Pakistani trader under invoices the product like California almonds to the extent of money received by him. On receipt of the consignment, trader on the Indian side sells California almonds at the prevailing market price and makes extra and undue profit to the extent of under invoicing. Extra money so generated is handed over by the trader to antinational elements and militant organizations in the valley to fuel anti India operations,” it said.

“It has also been revealed that a significant number of trading concerns engaging in cross LoC trade are being operated by persons closely associated with banned militant organizations, especially Hizbul Mujahideen. Some India nationals who have crossed over to Pakistan and joined militant organizations have opened trading firms in Pakistan. As a result, many trading firms under the control of militant organizations are doing LoC trade with Indian traders firms who are operated their own relatives in the Indian side,” the statement reads.

“Cross LoC trade is also being used as a regular channel of funneling of drugs such as cocaine, brown sugar and heroine into the valley adversely impacting the youth thereby converting many of them into addicts of such life threatening drugs. In a recent example, 66.5 Kg of heroine was seized from a valley-based consignee and the drugs came through the LoC trade,” statement added.

It further added that Cross LoC trade is being exploited for periodically smuggling arms and ammunition into the valley. “Numerous seizures have been made of pistols, grenades, spares and ammunition. Recently a large cache that was concealed in a consignment of bananas was seized from a cross LoC driver from Kulgam in the valley,” it reads.

“In different consignments passing through LoC trade, Rs 57 Lakhs, Rs 20 Lakhs, Rs 15 Lakhs and Rs 7.5 Lakhs of fake currency notes have also been seized and over a dozen of people have been arrested. In the light of such large-scale misuse and loopholes being exploited for illegal and anti national activities, Government of India has been compelled to suspend the LoC trade. The Government will revisit the issue of resuming the LoC trade after stricter measures and systems are put in place to address these issues. New measures are expected to restore benefit of LoC trade to local population only, rather than allowing terrorist organizations and unscrupulous traders based far away from these trading points to syphon off the benefits and fuel instability in the valley,” the statement reads.

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