Foreign funding to NGOs in Kashmir is not a new phenomenon. Since 1988-89, when thousands of Kashmiri youths joined jihadi training in Muzaffarabad, funds kept flowing to groups like HuA, JKLF, Hizbul Mujahideen and All Parties Hurriyat Conference in Kashmir from Pakistan’s ISI, through the hawala route and even through the use of fraudulent bank accounts in Jammu and Kashmir. The aim was to kill the Indian armed forces, Kashmir police personnel, government officials and select civilians. After the sad demise of Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, the tactics of the jihadi insurgents has changed to radical Islamisation, by spreading their message through social media, Wahhabi mosques and new Pakistani terrorists like Zakir Musa, Abu Dujana, Mohammad Ismail and a few others, who entered Kashmir through the various gaps in the Line of Control. Jihadi warfare was reshaped into Islamic fundamentalism by Hafiz Saeed—the ex-chief of Jamat Ud Dawa and present chief of Milli Muslim League—who revived his Kashmir HM group with the help of Hizbul, JeM, LeT and TuM, supported by Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi and Masood Azhar, and funded by ISI and Dawood Ibrahim.
Abuses meted out by the radicals and insurgents to Indian Army, police and paramilitary personnel through ISI paid stone-pelters, were not taken seriously, while every injury occurring to a stone-pelter was highlighted by social media, and various NGOs and civil society members. Pakistani terrorists like Musa and Ismail are now in charge of the radicalisation process, in collaboration with the ISI. Even though Kashmiris reacted sharply to the killing of a number of Amarnath pilgrims on 10 July, yet the fear that Articles 370 and 35A of the Constitution would be amended or diluted by the Central government has resulted in Kashmiri educationists, political leaders, writers, et al, in supporting the separatists in their movement for azaadi from India. At a meeting attended by Mehbooba Mufti at IIC Annexe on 27 July, organised by BRIEF, it was observed that two Kashmiri youths started shouting pro-freedom slogans. We have listened to Farooq Abdullah’s speeches during electioneering and his reaction to the discussions on Article 35A. Even on this point, all political leaders including from the PDP, NC, the separatists and the radicals are in the same frequency. Maybe the Congress party will join the fray with them next. After all, the incident of a stone-pelter being tied to the bonnet of a Gypsy by an Indian Army major had gone viral, with most Kashmiri writers, its media, professors and political leaders supporting the Pakistan-paid radical stone-pelters.
There is full evidence to prove that most of the APHC members received funds from Pakistan through various channels, to help the separatist agencies and radicals in their violence in Kashmir and to spread anti-India feelings. The same is the case with Yasin Malik, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Syed Ali Geelani. Both of Geelani’s sons, and APHC leader Shabir Shah have been apprehended and are facing trial by the National Investigation Agency. Since ages, APHC leaders have been supporting violence and separatism in Kashmir. Many Kashmir University teachers, writers, social leaders and quite a few Kashmiri political leaders have been instigating the radicals to perpetrate violence against the Central government, the Army and the paramilitary forces. Most of the NGOs that have mushroomed in Kashmir, have joined hands with the separatists and have provided them with funds that they get from abroad. Such NGOs have been traced and their source of funding is being verified. All these over-ground workers—the so-called intelligentsia—were the main tentacles that aggravated the situation in Kashmir after Burhan Wani’s death. They kept on propagating a soft cold-war against India, while maintaining both direct and indirect links with Pakistan and other Muslim countries. They followed the ISI diktat by urging the youth of Kashmir to treat the Army as an occupational force. We also should not forget the few cases of Indian political leaders sharing the dais with Pakistani political leaders and generals in Islamabad and Lahore. Similar was the case with our singer Mika, who was in the news for saying India and Pakistan should celebrate their Independence Days jointly. A number of so called secular intellectuals added fuel to the fire by taking up the case of Kashmir’s radicals and stone-pelters. They, however, kept quiet when Army and paramilitary personnel were killed by the terrorists.
Let’s also take the case of border trade with Pakistan through the Kaman post at Uri sector. What we have received from the Pakistan side includes weapons, drugs, explosives and fake India currency notes. Most of the Kashmiri traders involved in this trade were in touch with militant organisations in Pakistan and the money they received was for spreading violence in Kashmir. Indirectly, the funds were handed over to the separatists. Various social media platforms acted as catalysts for spreading disgruntlement among a section of Kashmiri society. There is no doubt that people’s attendance at the burial of Burhan Wani and others prove that radicalism and fundamentalism are spreading in the Valley. We need to act against the so called intellectuals, the NGOs and the civil society leaders who are spreading venom in the minds of the Kashmiri youth.
Pravash Kumar Mishra is Additional Director General (Retired) of the Border Security Force and Senior Fellow at the Vivekananda International Foundation.