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Religious body under watch

Religious body under watch

Author: Pradeep Thakur
Publication: The Times of India
Date: March 11, 2006

A prominent "hardline" religious organisation of Varanasi has come under the scanner of security agencies for possible links with jehadi masterminds across the border.

The group, Ahle Hadis Jamaat al-Salahfiya, has been receiving funds from a Saudi charity which has also been generous to Markaz-ul Dawa al-Irshad, the parent body of Laskhar-e-Taiba, in Pakistan.

Saudi charities, the chief source of terror money, came under global watch after 9/11. US pressure forced the authorities in Pakistan and elsewhere to clamp down on the more notorious ones like Al Rashid Trust, but suspicion persists that they have crafted their way around global vigilance to help fundamentalist groups.

Intelligence sources suspect them to be fund raisers also for various leaders of the Hurriyat Conference. Suspicions about Markaz's ability to avoid intense scrutiny from Pakistani authorities is heightened by the ease with which its chief "Prof" Hafeez Saeed continues to operate even when under house arrest.

Intelligence agencies have short-listed a few other radical organisations as well, but the Hadis is particularly under the scanner.

Sources said Able Hadis is a charitable organisation headquartered in Moradabad. It is allegedly one of Lashkar's front organisations and has received huge funds from "Ahle Hadis Salahfi Wahabism", based in Saudi Arabia. The same Islamic trust has also been sending lakhs of rupees every year to Ahle Hadis Jamaat-ul-Salahfiya in Varanasi and to some other religious and charitable organisations in J&K.

Indian Muslim Mohammedi Mujahideen in Andhra Pradesh is said to be another front of Lashkar. It was responsible for the bomb blasts in Hyderabad, Karimnagar and Nizamabad in the last few years.

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