Lawyers on Tuesday staged a protest in Srinagar and other major towns of the Valley against the summoning of High Court Bar Association president, Mian Abdul Qayoom for questioning by the National Investigation Agency (NIA). The Bar President has been summoned in a case related to funding of ‘subversive activities in the restive valley.
Reports said that lawyers assembled outside the Jammu and Kashmir High Court complex in Srinagar and started raising slogans against the NIA. Carrying placards with messages like ‘Stop persecuting lawyers though NIA’ and ‘don’t use NIA to suppress and subjugate voice of people’; the lawyers raised slogans in favour of Mian Qayoom.
The lawyers later tried to move towards city centre Lalchowk, however, police contingents deployed in the area prevented the lawyers from moving ahead.
Meanwhile, senior lawyer Zaffar A Shah, while talking to reporters said that lawyers will continue to stay away from work until Qayoom returns “with dignity” to the Valley.
Qayoom has been asked to reach the Delhi office of the NIA tomorrow to “answer certain questions” related to the funding case.
“We feel that the (NIA) notice is not bona fide. It is the outcome of a design, of a conspiracy to lower down the credibility of our public men,” Shah said.
He said that the NIA could have recorded the statement of Qayoom in Srinagar as well.
“We know Mian Qayoom. He is not involved in any manner in this case at all but at the same time if the NIA wanted to record his statement or to question him, we strongly condemn his summoning to New Delhi. The same thing could have been done even at Srinagar if it was a simple case of recording the statement for a witness or seeking information from him,” said Shah.
By summoning him to New Delhi, he said, “we feel that our respectable persons are being humiliated”.
“We feel NIA is abusing its authority. We feel process of law is being abused,” said Shah.
Meanwhile, the working advocates under the banner of district Bar Association Pulwama abstained from court work in response to a shutdown call given by its parent body, Kashmir Bar Association against summoning of its president, Advocate Main Abdul Qayoom by national investigation agency (NIA) to New Delhi.
The district Bar Association members expressed anguish over ‘leveling false allegations’ against Qayoom.
“We in one voice condemn the action of NIA for Summoning Bar president to New Delhi to answer false allegations leveled against him,” said Advocate Abdul Rashid Thoker, spokesperson of district Bar Association Pulwama, adding that they stand in solidarity with their leader who according to him is one of the leading voice for ongoing Kashmir struggle.
“The summary of allegations is false, fabricated, concocted and is aimed to malign the image of Mian Qayoom to deter him to leave the cause of Kashmiri people,” he said.
In South Kashmir’s Islamabad district, Lawyers observed a complete strike against issuing of a notice by NIA to Main Qayoom.
The lawyers in Islamabad and all peripheral courts, Bijbehara, Shangus, Dooru, Vailoo, Aishmuqam and Qazigund suspended the court work today. The Lawyers did not attend the courts in order to express solidarity with the President Kashmir Bar Association, Advocate Main Abdul Qayoom.
Pertinently, the federal agency has raided offices of many separatist leaders and businessmen in Kashmir after a sting operation carried out by a New Delhi based news channel which showed some persons were receiving funds from Pakistan to fan trouble in Kashmir.
Subsequently, some separatist leaders, their relatives and a few businessmen were asked by NIA to New Delhi and many people were taken into custody.