SRINAGAR: The moderate separatist leader and cleric Mirwaiz Umar Farooq on Friday alleged that NIA and Enforcement Directorate (ED) raids in Kashmir are meant to instill fear among the separatist leadership.
"It will be one year on July 24 since the NIA started the arbitrary arrest of political leaders and activists, which continues till today," Mirwaiz said while addressing Friday congregational prayers at historic Jamia Masjid today. He said it was evident that the NIA raids and the "subsequent harassment and arrests" being made by the agency at the behest of Government of India (GoI) is nothing but a ploy to "intimidate the separatist leadership" and instill fear of grave consequences among them.
At least eight separatist leaders including Altaf Shah, who is the son-in-law of hardline separatist leader Syed Ali, and Shahid-ul-Islam, the spokesman of Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, were arrested by NIA after the raids last year and are lodged at Tihar Jail in New Delhi.
A leading businessman Zahoor Watali was also arrested and is lodged at Tihar jail. Another separatist leader Shabir Ahmad Shah was arrested by ED in a decade old money laundering case and has been lodged at Tihar jail, New Delhi.
Mirwaiz said NIA and ED through these "raids" and "propaganda" cannot suppress the separatist leadership. "NIA through visceral propaganda wants to create doubt and disillusionment among people regarding their movement for self-determination," he said.
The NIA recently arrested woman separatist leader Asiya Andrabi and two of her associates. The investigation agency also summoned a Kashmiri journalist to its headquarters in New Delhi and questioned him for two days.
The journalist had conducted interview of Asiya few months back and he was quizzed on the interview. The separatist leader said those behind such measures should understand that Kashmiris are far too politically mature and conscious people, who have seen enough of such plots and ploys in the 70 years. "They are mature enough to understand the motive behind them and even people of India cannot be fooled by them for long."
"Today in India itself, the credibility and impartiality of these investigative agencies that are being used to train their guns at us, is being severely questioned and challenged by Indians themselves. These agencies are being called the agents of ruling dispensation, which are used against anyone and everyone who is an opponent or does not agree with the government or questions them.
So if that is the case in India itself, it comes as no surprise to Kashmiri's that they will be used to undermine our struggle and subvert it," added Mirwaiz