Govt asks JK Bank to stop cash transactions in 40 vulnerable areas of south Kashmir

Sri nagar: In the wake of militants targeting banks in south Kashmir, cash transactions at nearly 40 branches in sensitive areas of Pulwama and Shopian districts in South Kashmir have been stopped.

The advisory by the security agencies comes in the wake of a spurt in attacks on banks in south Kashmir.

The step has been taken following an advisory issued by security agencies asking the banks operating in the two districts to stop cash deliveries apprehending more such attacks.

The cash transactions have been stopped at the branches belonging to the Jammu and Kashmir Bank and Ellaquai Dehati Bank, which were targeted by militants recently.

A senior official of Jammu and Kashmir Bank said all other banking operations including ATM services would continue in these areas.
“We were told that the security agencies have inputs about more such attacks, so we had to stop cash transactions at these branches designated by the security agencies as sensitive,” he said.

Other banking operations, including cashless transactions and ATM services, will continue to take place.

Also, people in these areas can undertake cash transactions at other designated branches in the nearby areas, he said.
The official said the move to stop cash transactions was temporary till effective measures are put in place to ensure safety and security of bank employees and assets.

“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,” he said.

“These branches will not be shifted and will function normally. However, a customer can neither deposit nor withdraw the cash. In a way, these bank branches will be cashless and will do business in receipt form only. A customer can deposit cash in the form of cheques and he can even transfer his money,” a JK Bank official told news agency CNS.

The Bank official refuted the reports that some ATM’s have been shifted to safer places in South Kashmir.

Some of the branches that have been declared vulnerable in Shopian district include the branch at Pinjora, Keegam, Trenz, Imam Sahab and Kaprin while in Pulwama some of the vulnerable branches have been identified as Littar, Tahab, Achan, Koil and Drabgam.

Pertinently, this year six incidents of bank robbery took place in South Kashmir.

Various measures like providing additional armed security guards at these branches and having bullet-proof cash-vans have been discussed, the official said.

Police have blamed Hizbul Mujahideen and Lashkar-e-Taiba for the incidents, saying it is a sign of cash-starved militants trying to keep the funds flowing.

However, militants have vehemently denied these allegations.

Lashkar-e-Taiba spokesman, Dr Abdullah Ghaznavi on Friday evening issued a statement saying it “doesn’t believe in heist”.

“Robbing banks is not the work of militants. Honesty, truth and serving Kashmiri people is our core trait. This is an Indian agenda to malign us and has been planned in New Delhi,” he said.

(With PTI inputs)