Veeri did not feel any fear in awarding lucrative government contracts to persons with deep terror links. He did not feel any fear in embezzling government funds to the tune of crores. He did not feel any fear in maintaining close links with terrorists. What is he afraid of now?
Terror Mafia Labeled As Kashmir’s Resistance Movement
Nobody in Kashmir has asked tough questions earlier, or demanded straight answers. In the name of conflict, the rogues have gotten away with everything for too long. Welcome to KZINE, Kashmir’s new journalism. It is time to stop allowing the greys to define Kashmir’s polity. It is time to cut the umbilical cord of the terror ecosystem. It is time to stop allowing the political elites and the swindlers in the other sectors to straddle both worlds – the mainstream and the terror mafia.
For 30 years, the deceit of Kashmir’s political elites was deliberately camouflaged by the huge act labeled as Kashmir’s resistance movement. Because of the so-called resistance, nobody has been accountable. Politicians have had tacit understanding with the mafia dons labeled as terrorists. Contract killings, extortions, ransoms – all have followed. Hawala channels have flourished till the state finally decided to act tough and turn off these taps.
Rehman Veeri ko darr kyon lagta hai? Why is Rehman Veeri scared of meeting the KZINE team? It is because the lies, the subterfuge have gone on for too long. Behind the mask of Mr Nice, Veeri has waltzed with the terror mafia as he pleased.
For Veeri, this is Politics As Usual. For the aam janta of Kashmir, politicians cavorting with terrorists means deep hold of the terror mafia. It means that the aam janta has no relief from the tag of living in a so-called conflict region. It means higher instability, more unrest, greater risk for self and family.
Meet Abdul Rehman Veeri. A silent scoundrel. Four times MLA, former minister, senior vice President of People’s Democratic Party. A low key politician not given to socializing. Horrendously corrupt.
Abdul Rehman Veeri hails from Veeri village in Bijbehara tehsil. He was first elected to the Legislative Assembly in the by-elections for the Bijbehara assembly segment. The seat fell vacant after the then Congress legislature party leader and Bijbehara MLA Mehbooba Mufti resigned from the house to float PDP. The little-known Veeri had a fertilizer shop opposite the Bijbehara police station on the national highway. Veeri fought his first election on a PDP ticket. His relationship with the Muftis was always tumultuous – Now Happy, Now Hate. And after he won the election, Veeri never looked back.
From being a small shopkeeper with a humble background, Veeri’s assets now run into hundreds of crores. Veeri has mastered a calm exterior. He has also mastered the art of swinging both ways – mainstream and terror networking alike. Veeri facilitated the movement of the dreaded terrorist commanders of Hizbul Mujahideen to Pakistan. He embezzled government funds to the tune of crores. He showered favours on over-ground workers and terrorist sympathizers. He accommodated the relatives of terrorists in various government departments. Veeri also enabled relatives of terrorists to travel to Pakistan with valid travel documents.
Veeri’s radio operator was Sajad Ahmed Bhat. Bhat was the brother-in-law of dreaded Hizbul Mujahideen commander Ghulam Nabi Khan alias Aamir Khan of Liver, Pahalgam. who crossed over LOC to Pakistan and never came back. Veeri”s Personal Security Officer and Personal Assistant were also close relatives of militants. Veeri played an instrumental role in issuing travel visas to people whose close relatives had become militants, had crossed the LOC to go to Pakistan illegally, and stayed there.
Mohd Ayub Bandh, an established contractor from South Kashmir, is Veeri’s close friend and partner. Bandh is a familiar figure in South Kashmir. It was from his house that the first radio station of militants known as Alpha 2 was recovered. Despite being aware of Bandh’s antecedents, Veeri gave him government contracts on a platter. As Minister for Roads and Buildings, Veeri handed over many lucrative contracts to Bandh. Bandh too had joined People’s Democratic Party. This is indicative of the cozy arrangement that Kashmir’s political elites had with those enmeshed in the terror ecosystem.
Thanks to embezzlement in the lucrative contracts and other underhand means, Veeri rose from a fertilizer shop owner to a multi-billionaire. Veeri’s huge property is registered in the name of his two sons, daughter, daughter in law, relatives and even in the name of his Personal Security Officers. Veeri’s property at Gogu Colony, Srinagar, has been made on encroached government land. The entries in revenue records were made forcibly under survey number 519/317. Veeri has constructed an imposing two-storied house here. The land measures 2.5 kanals approximately. Its approximate cost is about Rs 30 crore. In government record, the cost of the property is stated as Rs 30 lakh.
Veeri has a 3 BHK flat at Channi Himmat in Jammu, registered in the name of his wife. This is a prime property in a Jammu. Additionally Veeri has non agricultural land at Gadiseer Bijbehara registered on his name. Veeri purchased agricultural land at Krangsoo Anantnag, registered in his wife’s name under survey number 928, 819 and 131. Its net worth is approximately Rs 15 crore. Apart from these disclosed properties, Veeri has a commercial hut-cum-hotel at Ganeshpora, Pahalgam. He possesses many more properties which have been registered in the names of his relatives.
Our Questions For Rehman Veeri
The KZINE team visited Veeri’s government residence at Tulsi Bagh in Srinagar thrice. But Veeri refused to interact with the team. The questionnaire was sent to Veeri on Whatsapp. He saw the questions but refused to answer them.
Here are the questions that were put forth to Veeri.
1) For how long have you known Mohd Ayub Bandh, the contractor?
2) Mr Bandh is related to your party and you have personal relations with him too. Are you aware that the first radio station of the militants, Alpha 2 was recovered from his home? Bandh has been a strong link in Kashmir’s terror network. Despite knowing this, how did you maintain your relations with him?
3) Despite knowing Bandh’s antecedents, why did you award him with lucrative government contracts when you were R&B Minister?
4) What do you have to say about your role in providing passport and travel approval for relatives of the militant commanders from south Kashmir now living in jihadi camps in Pakistan?
5) We want to know about your role in the exfiltration of Hizbul Mujaideen commanders Rasheed Gaadi Hanzpuri, Abid Baba and Javid Seepani.
Veeri Refused To Interact
I first called Rehman Veeri. When he heard the first question about Ayoob Bandh, he said, “I don’t know him.” Then he disconnected the call. Thereafter, Veeri did not receive our calls or disconnected them immediately. We sent him the questions on Whatsapp. He saw them but he did not respond. When we went to meet him for the first time, his security personnel told us, “Sir is inside. Please wait. I shall seek his permission to allow you inside.” Thereafter another person came out. After we told him the purpose of the visit, he said, “Sir is not at home.” On our second visit, we were told that Veeri is very ill and will not meet us. We asked if we could meet any of his family members. The guard responded that they are not here. They have shifted to some other place. The guard did not share the address with us. This was a lie, because we spotted some family members at home.