STARVE THEM

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 20 Nov 2015 13:03:55

PRIME Minister Mr Narendra Modi has raised a vital point of need to choke terror funding, at a global conference of CBI and State anti-corruption bodies, which was attended by 34 countries. Paris terror attack, in which 134 people were killed, was naturally on the mind of the Prime Minister when he called upon the world leaders to take immediate steps to cut money supply to terror organisations. While France and Russia have joined hands to take on the Islamic State militants and launched bomb attacks on their hideouts in Syria, a debate is on across the world on how to curb the increasing menace of terrorists. While physically eliminating terrorists is one option, it is doubtful whether it will prove entirely successful. Because, terrorism has gained deep roots in the society and has a tenacity to raise its ugly head time and again, like a multi-headed hydra out to devour innocent people. The fight against terrorists therefore will have to be fought on several fronts.
Terrorism is thriving despite an all-out war launched on it by the superpower US and other nations because it is still getting oxygen to survive in the form of steady supply of funds. If terror outfits are starved of funds, they would die a natural death. Terror outfits adopt several ways to generate money- from simple looking vehicle theft to serious crimes like bank robberies, abductions of wealthy persons for huge ransom, drug trafficking, human trafficking etc. With the spread of the Internet, it has become all the more easier for terrorists to move funds across the globe just at the click of buttons. While the proceeds of crime can be concealed anywhere in the world, the probe agencies mandated to detect them are limited by national boundaries, as correctly pointed out by the Prime Minister. How to detect ‘dirty’ money is thus the biggest challenge before investigation agencies.
Zero tolerance to crime, whether it is a vehicle theft or any other innocuous looking incident, should be the key word of cops. Who knows, a clue got from detection of a small crime might lead them to a bigger network of criminals or terrorists. Greater responsibility of detecting crime lies with the police as they operate at local level and are among the first ones to reach the crime spot. Police force therefore must be fully trained in all aspects of crime detection, including conducting probe into economic offence, considered to be a specialised subject. It is also necessary to give cops a free hand to tackle criminals. Often, police have to work with their hands tied because of political intervention. This must stop.
Terrorism was stamped out in the 80s in Punjab under the leadership of the then Director General of Police Mr KPS Gill because he was given a free hand to deal with militants. Mr Gill was successful in curbing terrorism as he had launched a relentless battle against terrorists, physically eliminating many of them.  He was also successful in snapping of fund flow to terrorists from Pakistan, which has helped immensely in dousing the flames of terrorism in Punjab.  The same method needs to be adopted in Kashmir, where Hizbul and other terror outfits are being funded by Pakistan to carry out anti-India activities.
The fact that the Islamic State militants move around towns and cities  in Syria in big convoys of swanky Toyota SUVs flashing Kalashnikov rifles indicates that they are awash with money. It would be extremely difficult to crush the IS and other terror outfits until they are starved of funds . The Prime Minister’s appeal to cut fund supply to terrorists thus carries weight. Concerted efforts by all the nations are necessary to choke supply of money to terror outfits. This is the need of the hour.