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10 JK militants based in Pakistan involved in LoC trade: Officials

New Delhi: Less than a week after India suspended trade across the Line of Control between Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, Indian agencies have named 10 suspects allegedly involved in smuggling of weapons, narcotics and fake currency by misusing cross-LoC trade routes.

All the ten suspects — hailing from Kashmir and currently based in Pakistan — are part of Pakistan-based militant organisations, home ministry insiders alleged.

“Enquiries conducted and record checks have established that these individuals have opened trading firms in Pakistan and are active in LoC trade,” a senior government official said on condition of anonymity.

India and Pakistan started the cross-LoC trade in 2008 as a confidence-building measure. According to the J&K government, the trade volume had touched Rs 5,000 crore by March 2018.

In a statement issued last week, MHA has said, “Government of India has decided to suspend the LoC trade at Salamabad and Chakkan-da-Bagh in Jammu and Kashmir with immediate effect. A stricter regulatory & enforcement mechanism is being worked out and will be put in place in consultation with various agencies. The issue of reopening of LoC trade will be revisited thereafter.”

Government sources while citing NIA and ED investigations said: “The inimical elements on Pakistan side identify a suitable Pakistani trader firm and hand over the money that is to be transferred to the terrorist organisations on the Indian side. Consignments of fake Indian currency notes have also been seized in the range of Rs 57 lakh, Rs 20 lakh, Rs 15 lakh and Rs 7.5 lakh and over a dozen of people arrested.”

"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 from Friday," the official added.

In a recent example, 66.5 kg heroine was seized from a valley-based consignee and it was found that the drugs came through the cross-LoC trade. The trade is being exploited for periodically smuggling arms and ammunition into the valley. Numerous seizures have been made of pistols, grenades, spares and ammunition.
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