The ongoing counter-terrorism measures leave much to be desired when it comes to gagging the sources of funding tapped by terrorists across the world. This was the concern raised by a think-tank of eminent persons from the police ranks, politics and media at a summit on ‘Preparedness to fight terror’ here on Monday.
“We have done pretty little to stop funding to the terrorists,” Ashok Bhan, Director General of Police (DGP), Jammu and Kashmir, told the audience. He listed hawala, extortion, counterfeiting currency, voluntary contribution and money from infiltrators as the ways of money transfer to terrorists. “There is large scale counterfeiting of quality currency. Even the Reserve Bank of India and the security press are not able to detect. For 3 lakh rupees you can easily get 5 lakh rupees worth of counterfeit currency. They are generally in the denomination of 100-rupees and 50-rupees,” Mr. Bhan said.
Another important mode is the Western Union Money Transfer through which crores of rupees come into the country. “We have to address funding. Banks under the garb of secrecy and commercial interests have not come on board,” he pointed out. Ajai Sahani, executive director, Institute of Conflict Management, New Delhi, spoke on the larger human resource crisis, which enfeebled our systems against facing the challenge of terrorism. For example, there exited a whole system of dubious financial dealings making monitoring of terror funding nearly impossible.
“How are you going to control terrorist finance? It is not just the terrorists who use hawala. It’s used by corrupt politicians and people too. You cannot have a thriving black economy and say we want to prevent terrorism. You have a flourishing grey market where you can buy smuggled goods,” Dr. Sahani said.
Praveen Swami, Associate Editor at The Hindu underlined the lack of a national debate on the steps needed to diminish the capability to carry out terrorist acts. “Within India we need to address the issue of financial infrastructure. The Maoists thrive on extortion, the jehadis on funds from abroad and within. We have been poor in [cracking] these infrastructures,” he said. The experts also drew into focus Pakistan’s role in the spread of terrorism in India.
Dr. Bhan pointed to the correlation between reduced violence in J&K and terrorist incidents in the rest of the country. “Around 1994–1995 violence was at its peak in J&K. It increased again at the time of Kargil. Pakistan used the period after 1995, when there was a decline in violence in J&K, to create terror structures in the rest of the country. From 2001 onwards there have been a series of incidents in the country. Post 26/11 there is an increased focus on J&K; infiltration has picked up.”
He said India could not depend on the United States or any other country to fight Pakistan. We had to fight terrorism on our own. Maharashtra Home Minister R.R. Patil, Mumbai Police Commissioner D. Sivanandan and top brass of the police force were present at the event.