Masrat Alam admits taking Rs 40 lakh to fuel protests14 December 2010
The Daily Excelsior
JAMMU: Masrat Alam, a hard-line Hurriyat Conference leader, who led Kashmir unrest from June to September by issuing regular protest calendars, has so far confessed having received Rs 40 lakh from Hurriyat chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani through different channels to fuel the protests and incite stone pelters. During his sustained interrogation by police after his arrest from outskirts of Srinagar more than one and a half month back, Masrat has admitted that he got Rs 40 lakh from Geelani during three months of hiding to generate protests and stone pelting incidents across the Kashmir valley. Director General of Police (DGP) Kuldeep Khoda told the Excelsior today that police was trying to ascertain channels used by Geelani to make payments to Masrat in hiding. The sources, who were making payments to the Hurriyat chairman, are also being traced. Mr Khoda said Pakistan has been using different channels to fund the separatists including Geelani to sustain protests, which were part of their new strategy. Some of them were paid cash during their trips to different States while some others got money through net banking. Srinagar-Muzaffarabad cross-LoC trade route has also been used for funding separatists, he added. 'It (the payment of funds to separatists and others by Pakistan) was not a simple mechanism. Had it been so simple, we would have choked it. Several channels are being used by Pakistan to fund separatists and militants', he said but added that police was always on the task to unravel the sources and block them. Masrat Alam has revealed some of the channels implied by Pakistan. Police was on the job to nail the persons, who had acted as conduits between Geelani and Alam when the latter was issuing protest calendars and spreading trouble in the Valley from hiding using the funds given by Geelani, the DGP said. He added that Masrat Alam, the new face among separatists in Kashmir, has been booked under several cases. 'It was not that everybody engaged in protests was paid. The organizers had been paid and they incited the people to hold protests and subject security forces and police to stone pelting. The militants of Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) and Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) had also been working behind the scenes to fuel the protests', the State police chief disclosed. He said in view of a sharp decline in militancy last year when it had gone an all time low, Pakistan changed its strategy this year to keep the Kashmir valley disturbed. Under the new strategy, Pakistan encouraged separatists and other agents to incite people for mob violence. The separatists to hold street protests and mob violence exploited very small issues of public grievances, which could have been easily addressed. The simple protests were converted into 'pro-azadi' processions, he said. 'Now when the latest strategy of Pakistan has also failed to work, their strategists would try to introduce fresh kind of trouble in the Valley next year but we are fully prepared to deal with them', Mr Khoda said. According to him, it was repeatedly observed in the Valley that minor grievances pertaining to power or water shortage or any other household problem was exploited by the separatists or their agents and people were forced to take to streets with processionists starting pelting stones on para-military and police personnel. He said a large number of persons, who, at the behest of separatists, had exploited the local people, have been identified during investigations by police and will be booked. No body involved in encouraging mob violence leading to trouble in the Valley will be spared, he added. Claiming that mob violence has failed, Mr Khoda said Pakistan was not ready to accept its failure. He asserted that police had not been able to find anything on ground which could suggest that the militants had managed to take advantage of unrest in the Valley and strengthened their positions. 'There was Intelligence assessment which pointed out that the militants could have utilized to unrest to strengthen them in Kashmir. Though we are not ruling out this completely, there was no evidence either to suggest that the militants have gained from the unrest', he added.