How Much Does It Take To Make Kashmir Bleed?
29 August 2004
The Hindustan Times
Jammu: Ever wondered how much it costs Pakistan to bleed Kashmir? It is a paltry Rs 50 crore per annum.This surprisingly low cost of 'proxy war', which in turn has made India spend several times higher amount to fight it, has been revealed in statistics compiled by officials here based on the instances chronicled since the Kargil conflict of 1999 summer.'It could be less or slightly more. The figure veers around Rs 50 crore per annum,' sources said, albeit the channels of money laundering are well established.The US currency appears to be the most favoured. The infiltrators killed in encounters and conduits of separatists and other channels were caught with US dollars in thousands. The Indian and Pakistani currencies, too, are in vogue.Pakistani currency is meant as a reassurance to foreign militants waiting for their turn to return home after having completed their tenure.This money comes from across through diplomatic channels, hawla and even in the guise of tourists, official sources have revealed.On August 23, the BSF after foiling an infiltration bid at Ghula post in Tangdhar area of Kashmir, recovered Rs 14 lakh in Indian currency and US $ 29,900 in the follow up searches.Other instances recorded are recovery of Rs 97 lakh from Saif-ul-Isalm, chief commander of Hizbul Mujahideen on April 2, 2003 at Natipora, Srinagar.Similarly, on February 6, 2003, Zamrooda Habib, an activist of the KMM, while leaving Pak Embassy at New Delhi was caught with an amount of Rs 5.07 lakh which was delivered to her by the Embassy.One lakh US dollars were recovered in April 2002 from Mushtaq Ahmad Dar in Kud on the Jammu- Srinagar National Highway. The money was meant for the JKLF.Originally, Pakistan started spending Rs 10 crore to fuel insurgency in the 1990s. Locals were frenzied by the thought of 'azadi' (freedom) and did not want anything but guns and grenades. For them the rapid fire of the AK-47s was a thrill and a step closer to their political goal.The cost went up when the local element started withering away and foreigners took over the command. They had a family back home to take care of and they wanted money for the job they were doing, sources said. They also used money in winning local support, food and shelter and to project themselves as the real followers of faith by reimbursing for food and shelter.This strategy has paid off. Foreign militants are not only fighting and surviving but have also the protective cover of locals. Who says money doesn't buy silence.