NIA Arrests Geelani’s Son-in-law, Six Others For Funding Terrorism in Kashmir
Altaf Ahmed Shah, Geelani’s son-in-law, has been in custody of Jammu and Kashmir Police since he was placed under preventive custody after Eid.
A representative image. (PTI)
New Delhi: Seven people, including the son-in-law of separatist leader SAS Geelani, have been arrested by the National Investigation Agency on Monday. The NIA has pressed charges of conspiracy, waging war against India and terror funding.
Altaf Ahmed Shah, Geelani’s son-in-law, has been in custody of Jammu and Kashmir Police since he was placed under preventive custody after Eid. Shah was arrested by the NIA in connection with its probe into the funding of terror.
Besides him, Geelani's close aides Tehreek-e-Hurriyat spokesman Ayaz Akbar and Peer Saifullah were arrested by the NIA from the Valley, officials engaged in the operation said.
The NIA also arrested Shahid-ul-Islam, spokesman of the moderate Hurriyat Conference led by Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, they said. The others arrested are Mehrajuddin Kalwal and Nayeem Khan (of the Hurriyat's Geelani faction) and Farooq Ahmed Dar alias 'Bitta Karate', they said.
The houses of those arrested had been raided by NIA sleuths last month. Shah is perceived as an influential force in the Tehrek- e-Hurriyat. While Bitta Karate was arrested in Delhi, the other six were arrested in Kashmir and will be brought to Delhi, an NIA press statement said.
Hafeez Saeed, the Pakistan-based chief of the Jamaat-ul Dawah, the front of the banned Lashker-e-Taiba (LeT), has been named in the FIR as an accused besides organisations such as the Hurriyat Conference (factions led by Geelani and Mirwaiz Farooq), Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) and Dukhtaran-e-Milat.
NIA will seek custody of all the accused to find out who else was involved in this terror funding conspiracy. “Mirwaiz Farooq, Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Yasin Malik will all be summoned. They will be asked to join investigations in Delhi," an NIA officer said.
Mirwaiz in a tweet has called the NIA action “vendetta,” but NIA sources say that “enough evidence exists to prove the conspiracy charge made against the aides of Mirwaiz and Geelani.”
The separatist leadership has called for a Kashmir bandh on Tuesday in protest against the arrests, but central government remained unfazed. Sources within the NIA said that a lot of ground work and evidence collection was done before the decision to arrest was taken.
The raids were part of the NIA's efforts at clamping down on separatist groups allegedly receiving funds for subversive activities in the Valley. The NIA had recovered account books, Rs 2 crore in cash and letterheads of banned terror groups, including of the LeT and HM, from the raids.
Former home secretary R K Singh has also demanded arrest of Mirwaiz and Geelani. "They (the arrested accused) could not have acted on their own. Geelani's PA has also been arrested. They are also involved. They are receiving money from Pakistan and ISI. They keep half the money for their lavish lifestyle and the other half is then funelled to instigate violence the valley. They should also be questioned," Singh said.
The NIA investigation also seeks to identify the chain of players behind the financing of terrorist activities, including those who masterminded the throwing of stones at security forces, burnt down schools and damaged government establishments.
For the first time since the rise of militancy in Kashmir in the early 1990s, a central probe agency had carried out raids in connection with the funding of separatists. In 2002, the Income Tax department had raided the establishments of some separatist leaders, including Geelani, and seized cash and documents.
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