‘Terror funding’: Seven separatist leaders arrested by NIA

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Monday arrested seven Kashmiri separatists on charges of receiving funds from Pakistan to sponsor ‘terror’ activities and stone-pelting protests in the Kashmir Valley.

The agency, in a statement said that the arrested persons will be produced before special judge, NIA, Patalia House in New Delhi on Tuesday.

The NIA said that the agency had registered the FIR on May 30, 2017, against the separatist leaders including the members of the Hurriyat conference, who according to the investigation agency, have been acting in connivance with active militants of proscribed militant organizations Hizb-ul-Mujahideen (HM) Dukhtarane Millat, Lashkar-e-Toiba and others receiving and collecting funds through various illegal means.

The NIA said that the funds were used for causing disruption in the Kashmir valley by way of pelting stones on the security forces, burning schools, damaging public property and waging war against India.

The Hurriyat leaders who were arrested are Nayeem Khan, Chairman of National Front and provincial president of All Party Hurriyat Conference (G),  Farooq Ahmad Dar alias Bitta Karate, Altaf Ahmad Shah, Shahid-ul-Islam, Ayaz Akbar, Peer Saifullah and Raja Mehrajuddin Kalwal.

Shah is the son-in-law of Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Geelani and Islam is a close aide of moderate Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq. While as Akbar is the spokesperson for the Geelani-led Hurriyat group.

NIA said that Karate was arrested from Delhi and the others from Srinagar. The six would be taken to Delhi.

The NIA had questioned the arrested persons after the May 2017 expose. Shah was questioned earlier in Delhi for nearly two weeks.

Notably, the NIA on May 30, conducted raids in Srinagar, Jammu, Delhi and Haryana and reportedly seized incriminating evidence against those involved in receiving, acting as intermediaries and final beneficiaries of funds coming from Pakistan.

Meanwhile, according to a leading national daily, the arrests come after NIA expressed its inability to question the Hurriyat leaders as they were under preventive custody of Jammu and Kashmir police.

The NIA had issued summons to Ayaz Akbar, the spokesperson for Tehreek-e-Hurriyat, Raja Merajuddin Kalwal, senior separatist leader, Altaf Fantosh and Peer Saifulla, another of Geelani’s close aides, asking them to appear before the NIA on July 24 at their Jammu and Kashmir branch.

The earlier summons were sent on July 14 and July 17, asking the leaders to come to New Delhi, but none of them responded. Later the agency was informed that the leaders were under preventive detention of the Jammu and Kashmir police.

Reacting on arrests by the NIA, Hurriyat (M) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said that government is enacting a drama to malign the image of people’s movement.

“Drama enacted by Govt using the NIA to malign people’s Political movement& leadership in Kashmir &to mislead people of India. Lies propaganda have a brief shelf life !”, he tweeted after the NIA arrests.

Earlier, Mirwaiz had taken the note of notice to prominent Islamia School and Jamia Masjid by the NIA.

“Now, NIA sends notice to #IslamiaSchool & #JamaMasjid, exposes level Of persecution State can go to against those it cannot defeat politically!” He had tweeted.

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