Raids conducted at houses, offices of Kashmiri separatists, businessmen
As part of its crackdown on terror funding in Jammu and Kashmir, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Saturday raided the premises of several separatist leaders and top businessmen across three states. The searches were carried out at 26 locations in Jammu and Kashmir, Delhi and Haryana to unravel the trail of money used to fuel unrest and terror in the Kashmir valley.
The agency is probing allegations of foreign funding for the separatists, and recently questioned some of its leaders. An NIA team is currently in the Valley to question more separatist leaders.
The raids came days after NIA registered a formal FIR in connection with the larger conspiracy to fund separatists in the Valley from Pakistan. The FIR alleges that money received from Pakistan is used to fund violence in the Kashmir Valley, including activities such as stone-pelting on security forces and torching of schools and government buildings.
“Around Rs 2 crore cash, gold coins and jewellery worth Rs 50 lakh, and incriminating documents, property-related papers, letterheads of banned terrorist organisations such as Lashkar-e-Toiba and Hizbul Mujahideen, pen-drives and laptops, phone diaries, kachcha receipts and vouchers have been seized from the financiers, hawala operators, office-bearers of separatist groups, during the searches at 26 locations in Kashmir, Delhi and Haryana,” NIA said.
The bank accounts and lockers found during the course of investigation have been ordered to be frozen. “The concerned persons have been summoned for questioning and further investigation continues,” a senior NIA officer said.
“The prominent among those whose residences were searched include Zahoor Watali, Raja Zahoor Khan, Farooq Ahmad Dar and Naeem Khan,” the officer said.
In Delhi, the agency carried out searches in Greater Kailash at the residence of Manav Arora, in Rohini at the residence of two Kashmiri families, who have been staying in the capital for the past 10 years and are in business of dry fruits. The agency also carried out raids at Khari Baoli in shops of two businessmen Dharmesh Goyal and Giri who deal in spices and dry fruits. The agency also carried out raids at Ballimaran.
Also the sleuths carried out hawala dealers in Haryana at Pyau Manhari, Sonipat and Kundli .
In the valley, more than 14 separatists and businessman were raided and over Rs 1.5 crore recovered from their premises. Those raided include suspended provincial president of Hard-line Hurriyat Conference Nayeem Ahmed Khan, JKLF leader Farooq Ahmed Dar alias Bitta Karatay, Tehreek-e- Hurriyat leader Altaf Ahmad Shah alias Fantoosh, Tehreek-e-Hurriyat district Srinagar president Raja Mehraj ud-din Kalwal, Moderate Hurriyat Conference leader Shahid-ul-Islam, businessman Zahoor Ahmed Watali and others.
Nayeem Khan, who was suspended by Hurriyat hawk Syed Ali Shah Geelani recently, was caught on tape admitting that Pakistan funded the unrest, stone pelting, torching of schools and mob violence during the 2016 agitation in the valley.
Altaf Ahmad Shah is the son-in-law of Hurriyat hawk Syed Ali Shah Geelani. Raja Mehraj-ud-din Kalwal is close aide of Geelani. Shahid ul Islam is the close aide and advisor to Moderate Hurriyat chief Mirwaiz Umar Farooq.
The NIA sleuths launched coordinated raids on different places early in the morning with the help of local police.
They officers and the residences of the suspected accused were cordoned off to ensure safety and security of the raiding party.
Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL), an amalgam of Hurriyat hawk Syed Ali Geelani, moderate Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front chairman Mohammad Yasin Malik, who spearheaded last year’s unrest, put up a brave face saying all these state sponsored tactics won’t deter them from pursuing our mission.
“The hype and sensationalism around the raids just goes on to show the desperate attempt by government of India to vilify and discredit the resistance leadership and in turn discredit the people’s freedom movement. After miserably and humiliatingly failing to curb and contain the current mass uprising by all the military might they feel defeated and hence opted for such unscrupulous means”, said the JRL in a statement.
Jammu and Kashmir government, however, cautioned the separatists to mend their ways or be ready to face the consequences. “Old days are gone. They have to be on the right path. If they fault they shall be taken to task,” said Dr Nirmal Singh, deputy chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir.