Cross-LoC trade suspension: MHA issues a statement

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Srinagar

Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Friday issued the following statement regarding suspension of cross LoC trade across Chakan-Da-Bagh in Poonch and Salamabad in Uri.

A representation picture

“Third parties manipulated the trade and misused it for trading goods being produced from outside the State of Jammu and Kashmir. For example, the almonds produced in California finding their way through LoC trade involving a large transport network spread in many countries,” Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in a statement said,

“While charge sheeting businessman Zahoo Ahmed Watali who was the president of LoC traders association, he was found to be funneling money to militants, separatists and subversive elements in the valley. ED has already attached his property worth crores and further investigations are still on,” said Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).

“NIA has decoded the modus operandi of dubious hawala transactions for terror financing. The inimical elements on Pakistan side identify a suitable Pakistani trader firm and hand over the money that is to be transferred to the anti-national elements and militant organizations on the Indian side,” said the MHA statement.

“Pakistani trader under invoices the product like California almonds to the extent of money received by him. On receipt of the consignment, a trader on the Indian side sells California almonds at the prevailing market price and makes an extra and undue profit to the extent of under-invoicing. Extra money so generated is handed over by the trader to anti-national elements and terrorist organizations in the valley to fuel anti-India operations.”

“It has also been revealed that a significant number of trading concerns engaging in cross LoC trade are being operated by persons closely associated with banned terrorist organizations, especially Hizbul Mujahideen. Some India nationals who have crossed over to Pakistan and joined militant organizations have opened trading firms in Pakistan. As a result, many trading firms under the control of militant organizations are doing LoC trade with Indian tradersfirms who are operated their own relatives in the Indian side.”

“Cross LoC trade is also being used as a regular channel of funneling of drugs such as cocaine, brown sugar and heroin into the valley adversely impacting the youth thereby converting many of them into addicts of such life-threatening drugs. In a recent example, 66.5 Kg of the heroine was seized from a Valley-based consignee and the drugs came through the LoC trade,” said the MHA statement.

“Cross LoC trade is being exploited for periodically smuggling arms and ammunition into the valley. Numerous seizures have been made of pistols, grenades, spares and ammunition. Recently a large cache that was concealed in a consignment of bananas was seized from across LoC driver from Kulgam in the valley,” it said.

“In different consignments passing through LoC trade, Rs 57 Lakhs, Rs 20 Lakhs, Rs 15 Lakhs and Rs 7.5 Lakhs of fake currency notes have also been seized and over a dozen of people have been arrested,” it added.

“In the light of such large-scale misuse and loopholes being exploited for illegal and anti-national activities, Government of India has been compelled to suspend the LoC trade. The Government will revisit the issue of resuming the LoC trade after stricter measures and systems are put in place to address these issues,” said the statement.

“New measures are expected to restore the benefit of LoC trade to local population only, rather than allowing terrorist organizations and unscrupulous traders based far away from these trading points to syphon off the benefits and fuel instability in the valley,” said MHA in a statement.

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