Hizb says Shahid is innocent, Geelani condemns
Srinagar: As soon as he appeared at the National Investigation Agency (NIA) headquarters in New Delhi on Tuesday, in answer to a summons served to him in Srinagar, Shahid Yousuf, the son of United Jihad Council supreme commander and chief of Hizbul Mujahideen, Syed Salahuddin, was arrested. He will be produced before the NIA special court at Patiala House in Delhi on Wednesday.
Kashmir Reader on Tuesday reported that the NIA had summoned Shahid, an officer at the JK agriculture department, to its New Delhi office. NIA sleuths had earlier questioned him four times in Srinagar.
NIA spokesperson Alok Mittal confirmed that Shahid was arrested at the NIA office in Delhi. “He has been formally arrested and will be produced before (NIA special) court on Wednesday to seek his custody,” Mittal told Kashmir Reader.
Shahid was summoned in case RC-06/2011/NLA/DLI, which dates back to 2011, when a charge-sheet against six persons was filed by the NIA.
Mittal did not reveal for how many days Shahid will be investigated by the NIA. “Wait till he is produced in court,” he replied to a question.
“Shahid is accused of allegedly receiving funds through international wire money transfer from one Aijaz Ahmad Bhat alias Aijaz Maqbool Bhat, member of HM (Hizbul Mujahideen), an absconder in the case,” said NIA officials.
Sources said that as soon as Shahid made his entry to the NIA headquarters, “NIA officials told him he was under arrest”.
The sources added that Shahid was taken for a medical examination by NIA officials in the evening and that he will remain in their custody till he is produced before the special NIA court at Patiala House court complex.
According to NIA, four persons including Ghulam Mohammad Bhat, who is said to be an aide of ailing Hurriyat Conference chief Syed Ali Geelani, are in judicial custody and facing trial in the special NIA court in New Delhi in the 2011 case.
“Two others, namely Mohammad Maqbool Pandit and Aijaz Ahmad Bhat, are still absconding. A red-alert notice has been issued against them already,” NIA officials said.
This year, the NIA filed another case in May, of alleged funding received in Jammu and Kashmir for “subversive activities”. Ten Kashmiris, including seven Hurriyat Conference leaders, have been arrested so far in this case.
Geelani condemned the arrest of Shahid Yousuf saying, “India while resorting to highhandedness is desperate to cow down spirits of pro-freedom leadership”.
“Syed Salahuddin is a forerunner and a prominent figure in freedom movement,” said Geelani. “He has dedicated his whole life for ongoing freedom movement.”
“India despite all its coercive and arbitrary measures to cow down his spirits, failed,” the Hurriyat Conference chief said. “It is their vain attempt to break and weaken his commitment to the movement.”
He said, “These cowardly and suppressive measures won’t dampen the passion and commitment of pro-freedom leadership.”
Condemning the arrest of their chief’s son, the Hizbul Mujahideen in a statement to CNS said, “These tactics are being adopted to break the resolve of freedom movement leaders.”
“We want to make it clear that these tactics will not have any impact on the mindset of leaders associated with Kashmir Freedom Struggle. Shahid Yousuf is innocent and has been implicated in a case that has no essence and base,” the HM spokesperson said. “India is fighting a losing war in Kashmir and has been using NIA to harass and oppress the freedom movement leaders. These tactics on part of India depict only frustration. The freedom struggle will continue till it is taken to its logical conclusion.”
Shahid has been arrested a day after India’s Home Minister Rajnath Singh announced a process of “sustained dialogue” in Kashmir and named former Intelligence Bureau Director Dineshwar Sharma to talk to “all stakeholders”.