Ayyub Thakur channelled ISI funds to Kashmir: Report
Ayyub Thakur channelled ISI funds to Kashmir: Report. Image Source: IANS News

New Delhi, Aug 3 : While on the face of it, Ayyub Thakur was 'lobbying for the Kashmir cause, he allegedly also provided significant support to terror activities against India, channelling ISI funds to Kashmir through various of his fronts and affiliates.

DisinfoLab reported that Thakur was alleged to have funnelled funds to militant organisations in J&K via his charity "Mercy Universal".

In June 2002, J&K police arrested a businessman, Imtiaz Ahmed Bazaz, on charges of funnelling funds sent by Ayyub Thakur from the UK to Kashmiri separatists, including Asiya Andrabi and her organisation Dukhtaran-e-Millat.

During his interrogation, Bazaz confessed to contacting Ayyub Thakur for channelling funds sent by Pakistan's ISI. In response, Ayyub Thakur claimed that he had sent the money for purchasing sewing machines for the women of Kashmir.

However, while Ayyub Thakur might have denied his role, his son Muzzammil seems to have a different opinion. During an interview with a J&K based media channel, 'Only Kashmir' (in 2015), he admitted that his father "funded terrorism in Kashmir" and that he also believed it was justified as "Jihad".

Registered in 2000 by Ayyub Thakur, its current board members include Javed Iqbal Aziz, A Hussain, Atif Hussain and Nazir Ahmed. Mercy International was also alleged to be the front used by Ayyub Thakur for funding militants and separatists.

The Justice Foundation was set up in 2003 by Ayyub Thakur, but within a year he passed away. After his death on March 10, 2004, Ghulam Nabi Fai took over the leadership of Justice Foundation alongside his close acquaintance Nazir Ahmad Shawl as Director.

During 2011, when FBI issued an affidavit against Fai, Nazir Ahmad Shawl (Executive Director) was active in the UK circuit and was attending events with Pak leaders and Kashmiri separatists.

Interestingly, Harsh Mander, former IAS officer and Director of Centre for Equity Studies, was also one of the advisors of The Justice Foundation (details now removed from website).

It is worth noting that Mander's name had also appeared in the earlier story on USCIRF (Un-ending War-II) in the context of fabricated database of minority atrocities in India was being peddled through DOTO and Quill Foundation. Mander was in the Advisory Board of Quill Foundation. DOTO is also partners with Justice For All, DisinfoLab reported.

Ayyub Thakur was dismissed from service at the Kashmir University in August 1980 because of political activism while working in government service, and was imprisoned for five months.

Immediately after his release, at the invitation of Gulam Nabi Fai, his friend-cum-associate at Kashmir University, Ayyub Thakur moved to Jeddah in 1981 where with Fai's help he became the Faculty of Engineering in the Department of Nuclear Physics.

Subsequently, he shifted to the UK in 1986, on a Fellowship arranged by his friend Fai. Fai and Thakur had started their Kashmir activism during their association with Jamaat-e-Islami. It is not clear whether Fai was already engaged by the ISI during that time, or was he doing it of his own will.

The duo envisaged and strategised to 'internationalise' the Kashmir issue. They decided to target 50 to 60 foreign students who enrolled at the Kashmir University, Regional Engineering College, and Government Medical College. The plan was to convince the foreign students to become 'unpaid ambassadors' of the 'Kashmir cause'.

During this time, Ghulam Nabi Fai managed to get the Imam of the holy mosque at Makkah to attend the Seerat Conference in Kashmir. This was also evidence of the level of liaison and influence which Fai had managed to cultivate with the Saudi authorities. An influence he would use to get his friend Ayyub Thakur to Saudi in 1980s, and get him a job.

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