SRINAGAR: After arresting seven separatists in Kashmir in militancy and separatists funding case, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) is likely to question hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani, moderate Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and pro-independence JKLF chairman Mohammad Yasin Malik.
Sources said NIA is hopeful that during the 10-day remand of seven arrested separatists, it would be able to collect “solid evidence” against Geelani, Mirwaiz and Malik to go after them.
The court in Delhi had yesterday remanded seven separatist leaders arrested by NIA from Srinagar and national capital on July 24 to 10 days remand of the investigating agency.
Separatist leaders Altaf Ahmed Shah alias Altaf Fantosh (Geelani’s son-in-law), Shahid-ul-Islam (Mirwaiz’s close aide and media advisor), Ayaz Akbar, Peer Saifullah, Mehraj-ud-din Kalwal, Nayeem Khan and Farooq Ahmed Dar alias Bita Karate were arrested for their alleged involvement in receiving funds from Pakistan and militant groups for militancy and for fomenting trouble and unrest in the Valley.
Sources said NIA sleuths will be questioning the arrested separatist leaders about the involvement of Geelani, Mirwaiz and Malik in receiving funds from Pakistan and militant groups for fomenting unrest in the Valley.
They said Geelani, Mirwaiz and Malik, who spearheaded over five month long unrest in the Valley last year after killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani on July 8, 2016, are already under the radar of the investigating agency.
“We have got some evidence against them (Geelani, Mirwaiz and Malik) and if NIA sleuths gets more concrete and solid evidence against them, the three separatist leaders would be summoned and questioned.”
“We want to take the case to the logical conclusion,” sources in NIA said.
The NIA had registered case on May 30 against separatist leaders for acting in connivance with militants of Hizbul Mujahideen, Lashkar-e-Toiba and other groups and woman separatist group Dukhtaran-e-Millat for raising, receiving and collecting funds through various illegal means including hawala for funding separatist and militant activities in Jammu and Kashmir.
The separatist leaders were accused of fomenting trouble in the Valley by inciting youth to pelt stones on security forces, burn schools, damage public property and waging war against India.
The NIA had questioned separatist leaders and businessmen in Valley and conducted raids in May and June this year to unearth separatist funding.
The NIA raids and questioning of separatist leaders took place after three separatists Farooq Ahmad Dar alias Bitta Karate, Nayeem Khan and Gazi Javed Baba had in an expose by India Today TV purportedly acknowledged of receiving money from Pakistan government, Hafiz Saeed and militant groups for fomenting unrest in Valley and creating chaos by burning schools, government institutions, panchayat ghars and police stations.
However, Geelani, Mirwaiz and Malik have termed the arrests as “revengeful, arbitrary and illegal”.
They have alleged that no evidence was found against Altaf Ahmed Shah, Shahidul Islam, Ayaz Akbar, Mehrajuddin Kalwal and Peer Saifullah and they have been arrested as per the plan of the government.
“These intimidating pressure tactics will neither weaken the movement nor resolve of the leadership in pursuing the just cause,” they have said.
Meanwhile, J&K Director General of Police S P Vaid told reporters on sidelines of a function in North Kashmir’s Baramulla district today that people in Kashmir have the right to know who was responsible for their bloodshed.
“People have the right to know that who was selling their blood, burning schools and disrupting their lives. Whosoever is doing it must be brought to book,” he said.
Asked whether arrest of seven separatist leaders by NIA has any impact on ground situation, DGP said, “There has been no negative impact on law and order situation after their arrest”.
“There is no problem. On Wednesday, people in Valley rejected separatists’ bandh call against arrests by NIA as they want peace,” he said.