March 2002 News

Net crackdown hits Hawala channels

27 March 2002
The Statesman
H Bula Devi

New Delhi: The embargo on STD and Internet connections in Jammu and Kashmir after the 13 December Parliament attack has taken its toll on hawala money transactions in the Valley. As a result, militant organisations are facing a huge funds crunch. Senior government officials said security forces have intercepted messages from militant groups asking for more funds. “During Ramzan, militant leaders had a big challenge paying off regulars. While there was an immense demand for cash, majority found their collection bags shrinking,” an official said. Recovering $1 lakh from a woman near Kud might be a big catch but this is not the first incident in recent times. For the first time, however, a VIP was “caught” in the net linking him to hawala transactions. During Ramzan, security forces had busted another such hawala racket and recovered about Rs. 1.5 crore from the Valley. In the recent incident in Kud, the route for the hawala transaction apparently was PoK to Jammu via Kathmandu. Observers said the only reason for using Kathmandu as a route could be to avoid getting caught in India. After the US strikes in Afghanistan, Americans realised the nexus between hawala transaction and terrorism and made efforts to bottle all hawala rackets, observers said. “Militants probably realised that if transactions took place via India, it would be dangerous. With India and the USA working together against this menace, they would have easily been caught,” a senior government functionary said.


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