The arrest of Syed Shahid Yusuf by the NIA on October 24, in pursuance of its ongoing investigation into acts of money laundering by Kashmiri separatists and their associates, has caused considerable ripples.
The interest is being generated because Shahid Yusuf is the son of Syed Salahuddin, a Kashmiri who has taken refuge in Pakistan Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (PoJK), from where he runs a terrorist organisation named Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) that he set at the behest of his hosts and masters.
Due to an outburst of emotion, after having lost in the state legislative assembly election in 1987, Syed Salahuddin crossed over to PoJK. So many other Kashmiri boys also crossed over with him and were reduced to a life of penury in refugee camps. Salahuddin was lucky as because of his political
background, he was handpicked by Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) to further its agenda of boosting local terrorism in J&K.
He was given the high sounding appointment of “Chief of the HM” and “Chairman of the United Jihad Council (UJC).” HM is an indigenous terrorist group raised by the ISI to give a local sheen to its terror operations in J&K! The UJC is an umbrella organisation created by the ISI as a unified
command for the many terrorist
organisations operating in J&K. There were 13 terror organisations in the UJC, the main, apart from HM, are the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Harkat-ul-Mujahedeen (HuM) and Al-Badr.
In actuality, Salahuddin is no more than a titular entity since the ISI directly controls the terrorist operations
including the funding, recruitment,
training, equipping, infiltration, targets etc. Salahuddin does what he is told to do in order to escape the ignominious life in refugee camps that most of his compatriots have been reduced to. He says to the media what he is told to say and passes orders to HM that he is told to pass.
Syed Salahuddin left behind a large family comprising of his parents, wife, five sons and two daughters. It is a sad commentary on the character of the man that, in spite of his family being in Kashmir, he has chosen to connive with evil enemies to harm his own people and cause a terrible amount of bloodshed. Despite his perfidy, the Indian state held forth the highest democratic norms and allowed his family, not only their freedom, but also opportunities to progress within the system.
All of his sons are well educated and equally well placed with all but one on government jobs. His daughters are also happily married and working as government teachers. All this has
happened due to the education facilities and job opportunities available in J&K.
One would have thought that at least Salahuddin’s family in Kashmir would be eternally grateful for the
benevolence of the Indian state and its people who embraced them despite the treachery of their patriarch, but sadly, that is not the case.
It is notable here that Shahid Yusuf is a State Government employee of the Agriculture/Horticulture department of J&K and yet he is said to be involved in gross anti-national activities.
The arrest of Shahid Yusuf as part of the ongoing NIA investigation in
connection with terror funding in J&K brings about the realisation the entire family suffers from a loyalty deficit.
Shahid is just one of many relatives and close associates of separatists who are under the scanner of the ongoing investigation by the NIA. Yet another prominent relative of a separatist who has been arrested on a similar charge is Altaf Ahmed Shah (also known as Altaf Fantoosh). He is the son-in-law of Syed Ali Shah Geelani, the most rabid,
pro-Pakistan separatist. There are many more such cases.
The unravelling system indicates that the separatists have converted their anti-national activities into a family enterprise mainly directed towards building their personal fortunes and financial Empires. There is more of economics and less of ideology involved in all this. How such people get to sleep at night with such disloyalty weighing on their conscience is a mystery!
Media Creating Hurdles
The actions of the NIA are under close media scrutiny and the captive press operating mainly from Kashmir is going overboard in creating hurdles in the investigation process. Local newspapers were quick to carry statements on behalf of Syed Salahuddin and Geelani post the arrest of Shahid Yusuf. The source was attributed to a local news agency. HM spokesperson speaking on behalf of Syed Salahuddin said that Shahid has been booked on a fake charge and that the act will not weaken the freedom movement. Geelani in his two bit “condemnation” eulogised the role being played by Syed Salahuddin while castigating the, “Forces (NIA) for following the aggressive policies of their masters.” Such a reaction from the
separatists is predictable, what is
particularly infuriating is the manner in which it is carried prominently by the Kashmir based media!
Even more exasperating is the support being given to such anti-national
activities by certain elements of the
so-called Indian intelligentsia and Left liberals. Now, PC Chidambaram of the Congress party has raised a demand of Autonomy for J&K. A statement of this nature coming from a person who has been Home Minister of the country is particularly galling. It reflects the worst form of political opportunism.
The people of Kashmir should now realise that they have been exploited by some notorious anti-national elements at the behest of Pakistan mainly due to the lure of money. Ideology has a very insignificant role to play in all this. It would be in the interest of the people to seek an end to this blatant exploitation and move on towards peace, prosperity and development along with the rest of the nation. This is the right time to mould the narrative towards a more positive direction.
It is also hoped that the NIA will maintain the momentum of the ongoing investigation and take it to its logical conclusion. The resolve that it has shown now is particularly encouraging. In fact it should bring other elements like the media houses operating from Kashmir within the ambit of its
investigation. There is enough evidence to indicate that some of them are
(The writer is a reputed analyst, author and commentator)