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Varanasi charity under scanner for jihad links

Varanasi charity under scanner for jihad links

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

A 'hardline' religious organisation in terror-scarred Varanasi has come under the security agencies' scanner for possible links with jihadi 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, Lashkar-e-Taiba's parent body. Markaz is headquartered in Muridke, 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 fundamentalists promote their agenda.

Intelligence sources suspect they are also fundraisers for Hurriyat Conference leaders. Suspicions about Markaz's ability to avoid scrutiny from Pakistani authorities is heightened by the ease with which its chief, 'Prof ' Hafeez Saeed, continues to operate despite being under house arrest.

Sworn to global jihad and increasingly linked with Al Qaida, Lashkar has emerged as the main jihadi outfit in India, spreading its operations beyond J&K and linking up with terror outfits like Jaish. In Pakistan, LeT camps train militants from as far as the Philippines and Chechnya.

Intelligence agencies have shortlisted a few other radical organisations as well, but Hadis has come in for special attention. The sect believes in a particularly austere, and exclusivist, form of Islam - like the Wahhabis in Saudi Arabia.


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