Jammu & Kashmir: Banks stop cash transactions following robberies

07 May 2017 | By Ramya Patelkhana

Following militant attacks and robberies on banks in South Kashmir, cash transactions at nearly 40 bank branches were stopped in sensitive areas of Pulwama and Shopian districts.

Security agencies issued an advisory asking the banks in the two districts to stop cash deliveries at the branches there.

Branches of the recently targeted Jammu & Kashmir Bank and Ellaquai Dehati Bank also stopped cash transactions.

In context: Militants rob banks in Jammu & Kashmir

IntroductionMilitants loot banks in Jammu and Kashmir

Since Oct'16, militants have targeted various banks in Jammu and Kashmir, looting Rs. 92 lakh in 13 separate attacks.

Four incidents in four days have already taken place in May.

The first attack was in Kulgam district on a cash van on 1 May in which militants shot dead five policemen and two security-guards.

Two attacks adjacent villages in Pulwama district were also reported.

DemonetizationFunding dries up after demonetization

All the 13 attacks, except one in Oct'16, had taken place after the government announced demonetization of higher currency notes on 8 Nov'16.

Demonetization reportedly resulted in effectively drying up funds for militant outfits; hawala cash transfers to such groups had come to a halt.

Intelligence officers tracking the outfits said funding from usual channels had run dry as an immediate aftermath of demonetization.

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07 May 2017Jammu & Kashmir: Banks stop cash transactions following robberies

Cash transactions at other designated branches

Banking OperationsCash transactions at other designated branches

A senior official of J&K Bank stated they were asked to stop cash transactions till effective measures are taken to ensure the safety of employees and assets; security agencies have inputs of more such attacks.

He said all other banking operations, including ATM services and cashless transactions, will continue to take place.

People can undertake cash transactions at other designated branches in nearby areas.

J&K Bank official's statement

"We have discussed various measures for the safety and security of our employees as well as the cash. We are putting those measures in place in the coming few days and once they are in place, cash transactions at these bank branches will be resumed."

MeetingSpecial State-Level Bankers Committee meeting

A Special State-Level Bankers Committee meeting was held on 5 May to discuss the issue.

The meeting was also attended by Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu, Chief Secretary BB Vyas, Principal Secretary (Home) RK Goel, and Director General of Police SP Vaid.

They unanimously called for reconsidering the Standard Operating Procedures for "augmenting and upgrading" physical security and ensuring the safety of public and property.

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Various measures being discussed

Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu said, "Surveillance is good but it cannot substitute physical security on ground." The J&K Bank official said various measures, including additional armed security at branches and bulletproof cash vans, have been discussed.