Chiefs of proscribed groups and top separatist leaders were being funded from Pakistan High Commission, through remittances and hawala transfers, a top official of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) Alok Mittal said on Monday.

Addressing NIA’s National Conference of chiefs of the Anti Terrorism Squads (ATS) in Delhi, Mittal said that there have been continuous efforts from across the border to revive terror activities in Punjab.

Sixteen persons were arrested for targeted killings in eight cases, in which Khalistan Liberation Force was found to be involved, he said adding that they received funds from the UK, Italy, France and Australia for the same.

The NIA has registered a fresh case based on anti-India activities of Sikhs for Justice, who are running a campaign on social media and trying to radicalize Sikh youth. The NIA official said that five people were arrested in UP’s Shamli last year who admitted to getting radicalized through ‘Referendum 2020’ propaganda.

Mittal further said security agencies had arrested 127 people from different parts of the country in recent years for having links with ISIS. The largest number of people were arrested from Tamil Nadu (33), Uttar Pradesh (19), Kerala (17), Telangana (14), Maharashtra (12), Karnataka (8) and Delhi (7). The other states from where ISIS suspects have been arrested are Uttarakhand, Bengal, Jammu and Kashmir, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh.

Accused in majority of these ISIS cases have admitted that they were radicalized through videos of Zakir Naik. Therefore, a case was registered against the controversial preacher and his organization Islamic Research Foundation (IRF).

Naik is a known hate preacher whose name prominently figured during the Dhaka bomb blasts in July 2016 that killed many. A bomber later confessed that he was influenced by Naik’s messages following which he fled India.

Naik, who used to preach on the now-banned ‘Peace TV’, has been living in Malaysia for around 3 years in a bid to escape the Indian law after cases were filed against him here in the wake of a terror attack in Bangladesh in 2016.

Indicating Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) a threat to the nation, NIA DG Yogesh Chander Modi said the terror group has been attempting to spread its operations across India and a list of 125 suspects have been shared with different states.

Modi said the JMB, a Bangladesh-based outfit, has spread its activities in states like Jharkhand, Bihar, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Kerala in the guise of Bangladeshi immigrants.

NIA Inspector General Alok Mittal added that the JMB has set up 20-22 hideouts in Bangalore and tried to spread its bases in South India from 2014 to 2018.

National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval, in his address, said that the impact that NIA has been able to make against terrorism in Kashmir is more than any other agency.

Attacking Pakistan, the NSA said that if a criminal has the support of a state, it becomes a great challenge. “Some of the states have mastered this. In our case Pakistan has made it as an instrument of its state policy,” he said.