The Maoists have unabashedly boasted of terror money generated through their extortion industry. No public or private initiative, however benign, progressive or humanitarian is spared by them. Similarly the jihadi infrastructure relies on slush money to sustain madrasas, promote indoctrination and recruitment. Black money and counterfeit currency has been terrorizing India.
Consequent to the demonetization drive, Maoists are stunned because their economy has been paralyzed. Without money, jihadis in India are suffocating. Both these economies had made substantial in-roads in the National Capital.
Also badly hit are the separatists’ and soft separatists’ i.e. mainstream politicians in Kashmir Valley whose activities thrived on dirty money. They have been making desperate calls to their masters in Pakistan. Stone-pelting industry in the Valley is also in a state of shock and may not recover easily. In fact, recovery of all kinds of terror industry is subject to many uncertainties because of the unpredictability introduced by the government by this massive economic ‘surgical strike’.
No insurgent or terrorist, however indoctrinated, can ideologically sustain itself without financial support. Only those with filled bellies can be motivated. Terrorists hanker as much for primal human needs. For wealth, Maoists resort to loot or extortion.
In addition, however, both Maoists and Jihadis require sources of income or salaries. Suicide bombers insist on assurance of adequate monetary compensation to their families in exchange for their lives. Pakistan pays nearly the same amount to jihadis as regular army officials. Such groups or outfits sustain on dirty or secret money. Drug money, smuggling, extortion by terror and fake currency, are invariably the methods employed. India is a victim of all these.
The volume of Maoist extortion industry is between Rs.15,000-20,000 crores, and of fake currency Rs 80,000-90,000 crores. From Jharkhand alone, the Maoists raise between Rs 300 to 400 crores. Nevertheless, various governments for obvious reasons have been undermining these figures drastically. The Maoist and Jihadi terror empires have more than once demonstrated their reach and financial clout. The Maoists pressed their entire national and international industry during the judicial trial of Binayak Sen and the Jihadi industry shook every organ and constituency of the State to stave off Yakub Memon’s hanging. These industries are destroying India primarily through black money and fake currency network.
In 2015, the world witnessed 11,774 terror attacks in which nearly 28,328 people were killed and 35,320 injured. India was the fourth worst affected country after Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. About 43 per cent of the 791 terrorist attacks in India were attributed to Maoists. This is a tangible figure. The intangibles, i.e. the intensity and magnitude of terror that terrorizes business, education, agriculture rather the social and economic life is incalculable. Together they constitute the proxy war agenda against India.
Just as Jihad is proxy war by Pakistan, Maoism is a proxy war by China and religious organizations in Europe leveraging on left wing extremism. The attack on churches was before Delhi elections was handiwork of such forces. Apart from other dubious means, narcotic money has sizeable role in nourishing Jihadi and Maoist terror.
Citing narcotic activity of Maoists in Bihar, the Narcotics Control Bureau, maintains that in the Barachitta subdivision of Aurangabad district, 472 acres of land is under opium cultivation, enjoying the protection and patronage of Maoists. The Maoists take away half the produce. The total money that accrues is more than Rs 60 crore. This figure when extrapolated in the entire Red Corridor, specially the liberated zones, becomes substantial.
The mullahs of Pakistan have over the years conflated narcotics with jihad. Theological proscriptions by Islam against use of drugs have never been deterrence to them. It would not be wrong to say that drug dealers are terrorists and terrorists are drug dealers. Investigators after 26/11 found injections containing traces of cocaine and LSD with the terrorists and also found drugs in their blood.
This year in June, a Pakistani drug smuggler by the name of Ramzaan was arrested on the Punjab border by BSF. He revealed that pushing drugs into India is another and new form of Jihad. He said smugglers were motivated to slow poison and ruin the younger generation. Earlier the ISI facilitated drug smuggling purely as an economic activity to arm and help terrorists and thus fan narco-terrorism.
Hein G Kiessling in his book ‘ The ISI of Pakistan’ says: ‘’ The official ISI budget is estimated to stand today around US$300 million, but there are various ways of raising extra funds….Indian experts believe the ISI deployment in Kashmir is financed by four sources---the drug trade, counterfeit money‘’.
He further maintains: “After the Soviet retreat from Afghanistan, the ISI-backed drug trade went from strength to strength…..Pakistan would have been totally shattered without the heroin money. A group of army and ISI officers also became very wealthy.’’
Writing about the Bangladesh connection, he writes: ‘’ From 2014 an additional drug route emerged, as heroin is now transported in large quantities to Bangladesh and from there to India.’’
The Bangladesh based jihadi groups like JMB have relocated themselves in West Bengal after crackdown by Sheikh Hasina. As Sheikh Hasina continues to purge Bangladesh of jihadis, there is corresponding increase in radicalization in West Bengal by the relocated groups, which is not without political patronage. Fuelling this radicalization is huge parallel economy that is generated through cattle smuggling along the West Bengal-Bangladesh border.
The vicissitudes of fake currency market in the region can be assessed by the fact that when in June after the Dhaka Cafe attack, Sheikh Hasina further cracked down on JMB and other terrorist outfits, the rate of ISI supplied fake currency went up from Rs 20,000 genuine: Rs One Lakh counterfeit to Rs 40,000 : Rs. One Lakh genuine. The West Bengal parallel economy has been dealt a decisive blow.
The political economy of state is majorly dependent on black money and counterfeit currency. Malda and Burdwan act as mode for counterfeit currency trade. The spillover of this jihadi-narco-counterfeit industry is in other states bordering, Bangladesh, particularly Assam.
Malda is not the only entry point of fake counterfeit currency. The other entry points are Chennai, Mangalore, Barmer, Kashmir and Nepal. Export centres include Dubai, Singapore and Thailand. This explains the abnormal behavior of one politician who had visited Dubai for fund collections just before elections, something unprecedented.
While in Kathmandu in 2009, in the course of writing the book ‘The Unmaking of Nepal’, two senior politicians told this author that the Pakistan International Airlines flight with a seating capacity of more than 150, never carried more than a dozen passengers. The tri-weekly flights were mainly used to convey counterfeit Indian currency. Considering the inputs from multiple sources, entry points and export centres, it can be assessed that the value of fake Indian Currency notes is between Rs 80,000 – Rs 90,000 crores. Given the growth in volumes of Indian economy and money circulation, and the corresponding increase in Fake Indian Currency Notes (FICN), any government would have postponed demonetization at the cost of India.
The worst hit by the demonetization move has been Dawood Ibrahim. Various knowledgeable sources in India and Pakistan are of the opinion that his network in India has been taken to the brink of destruction.
The demonetization decision coupled with other measures is bound to have sobering impact on the arrogance that black money had acquired in politics. Inimical powers had begun to fund political parties. They in turn charged crores to dish out MLA and MP tickets. MLAs and MPs had degenerated to the status of ‘cattle’. In times of political crisis, MLAs were herded and quarantined in five star hotels to prevent poaching.
The arrogance of black money destroyed democracy and subverted the Constitution. This arrogance had travelled to doctors, engineers, police personnel, bureaucrats, media houses and segment of judiciary. All at the expense of the common citizen.
The common citizen, as a result of the demonetization drive, will certainly be more secure, desired and respected. It is therefore an occasion for common citizen to partake in securing the country. It is an occasion for them to celebrate their triumph over inimical and evil forces.
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RSN Singh is a former military intelligence officer who later served in the Research and Analysis Wing, or RAW. He is the author of two books: Asian Strategic and Military Perspective and Military Factor in Pakistan.